10 Reasons Why New York Subway System is America's Shame
New York City has some fabulous pleasant surprises but this doesn't include their subway system.
I was recently in New York City. The city's subway system is pretty shocking when compared to other subway systems around the world.
This includes the Toronto Transit Commission's (TTC) subway which is well-maintained and easy for most any visitor to the city to figure out.
And in Toronto, subway system staff are at every stop and can easily help any city visitor quickly figure out where to go. The same cannot be said about the New York City system.
Travelling on the New York City subway system provides a critical perspective on the problems with American capitalism.
Here you have a city where billionaires and billion dollar companies have their Head Offices alongside a system in chronic decay.
Do these billionaires and a government who primarily seek to represent these billionaires care about public transportation used by "average people"? Apparently, not it seems.
America spends billions upon billions of dollars to blow-up our planet several times over in an never-ending arms race with Moscow.
However, Moscow which is Russia's largest city has a well-funded and modern subway system that's much better than New York's [video above]
So, the next time a U.S. politician declares that "America is the greatest country in world", you may wish to ask them if that includes the New York City subway system?
The best things I can say about the New York City subway system is that it has a great air condition system and I had no problems using my cell phone.
Notwithstanding this, here are my personal observations on why I regard the New York City subway system to be a terrible travesty.
1 - A decrepit system suffering from profound decay in physical infrastructure
The best way for me to describe the physical appearance of the New York City subway system is to picture what you think the basement of an overused 60 year old parking garage would look like with 60 year old paint. Please make sure you also include pot holes and other sings of decay in your picturing.
2 - A completely convoluted and disorganized system
I was quite shocked to see how much difficulty New York City subway staff had to explain me and other tourists during my stay there how to travel from points "A" to "B".
The New York subway system is so convoluted on multiple occasions I witnessed fare operators going online to attempt to show me where to go.
3 - A nearly useless subway map
I have a degree in geography and I view the New York subway system map to be kind pretty but near useless. I found it practically impossible to follow compared to the TTC. The New York subway system map is so apparently useless that when I asked for directions I saw not even one of the fare operators using it try to show me where to go. Who or what company designed this map anyways?
4 - More confusion
Having walked into what I thought was a "regular" subway, I accidently bought a ticket to the "PATH" system which seemed to be sharing the same stop wit the "regular" subway.
5 - Subway lines which go near to each other but don't actually intersect - how stupid is that?
When I was in Manhattan, I decided it was far easier for me to walk 25 minutes that to figure out how many times I might need to exit the system then walk 5 minutes to a different subway line.
6 - A lack of commercial services
In the Toronto subway system, buying a beverage or a newspaper is easy to do. A network of underground shopping that we call 'concourses' are often at subway level. In New York's system, "Forget about it" including even water. The New York system is like travelling from one ugly decrepit basement of an underground parking garage to another.
7 - Poor signage
A big frustration for myself as a tourist in New York was just finding subway stops which almost seem to be sprinkled in the city very with no apparent rhyme or reason.
8 - A lack of personal security
When travelling on the New York subway I had noticed one lady apparently objecting to comment made by an older lady of Asian background beside her. The offended lady poked her and ordered her to get out of her seat. But when she did, the offended lady then began to demand that she get off the train. The lady of Asian background at first refused. The offended lady became angry and then physically shoved her out the train. There was no security in sight to provide assistance to the older Asian lady.
9 - A lack of help in general
Have you found yourself lost in New York's subway system and don't know where to go? Good luck!
10 - Poverty and panhandling
If you use the New York subway system don't be surprised if you meet rather assertive panhandlers who have become part of the city's oppressed underclass and homeless.