I just want you to know that, for as much as I love and appreciate you, there is definitely room for improvement. I love you because I’m a bad driver and can’t drive a car anywhere but on a lone country road; I love you because I am allergic to all buses except the Hampton Jitney.
But I don’t love that I have to wait forever for your trains to arrive, that I get motion sickness as I get jostled around a noisy car, that I sometimes have to wait for another train because rush hour means that all the cars are full.
I want you to know that I’ve taken subway systems elsewhere besides New York, and they’ve been a way better experience. The London Tube, my first subway experience? Interesting, from what I remember, but then again I was only 14. Washington, D.C.’s Metro? Clean, empty, with subway cars like an actual railroad and elevator music playing in the vast (if poorly lit) stations. The Paris Metro? OK, maybe that experience was generally dirtier, smellier and unbearably hot in the summertime, but at least the trains arrive more frequently and there are vending machines at the stations.
But of all the subterranean trains that I’ve taken, they all pale in comparaison to the Barcelona metro system. You know, if wasn’t for the fact that I don’t speak Catalan and have family ties/friends in New York, I’d be tempted to pass it up for heavenly Barcelona. But rest assured, MTA, I’m not going anywhere and will continue to be your “valued” customer…..
The Barca metro had mini-TVs. Grant you, they mostly showed ads and public event fliers, but they were still something to look at besides Spanish-language ads for HIV patients, like the MTA has plastered to it’s walls.
My favorite thing about the Barca Metro: punctuality! I swear, every time we walked in there was a train conveniently arriving. Every time. That’s a track record that the MTA would love but sadly will never get, because their dirty, rambling trains are always breaking down or there’s no signal or otherwise construction is going on. I don’t want to have to wait 20 minutes in the evening because it’s a Sunday and most New Yorkers aren’t going out to club and therefore there are less trains running; I want that train to arrive pronto!
Unlike the MTA, which only has one “central” pole for people to hold onto, Barca metro had 3 poles. This may seem insignificant, but let me explain: when I get on the subway and some overweight, oblivious girl has her body all up against the single pole for me to hold onto, I get a little upset. Where am I supposed to hold onto?
Additionally, the Barca Metro had useful maps that were not graffiti-d all over the place at your convenience. So you don’t have to pray that the line you’re getting on takes you to where you’re going, since there’s no map for you to check, and end up finding out by trial and error that, oops, it doesn’t! Why don’t I ask somebody where the train goes, you ask? C’mon, MTA, you’re New Yorkaise! The only way New Yorkers deal with all the crowds and weirdos is by pretending that they don’t exist!