DC Metro vs NYC Subway

foggybottomThis isn’t so much as a list of pros and cons of the two systems, more like lots of complaining about the DC Metro.[1]

24 hour vs. Not: There isn’t even much of a debate here, obviously having a 24 hour system is better than not. The DC system closes around midnight on weekdays and 3am on weekends. I’m not a huge late-night partier, but this has definitely inconvenienced me more than once. Maybe because they clean the whole system at night, since the DC system is cleaner than New York’s. I’ll take a 24 hour, dirty system anyday.

Single price vs. Cost by distance: In NYC it costs you $2 per ride no matter how far you go. In DC, the farther you go, the more you pay. NYC has talked about implementing such a system, but one of the biggest arguments against it is that it puts even more financial strain on people with less incomes (who can’t afford to live in Manhattan). That same logic doesn’t apply as much to DC since there seems to be wider spread of income both in DC itself and the surrounding areas (so far as I can tell). Regardless it’s still a pain in the ass when I ride to the end of a line and see how much more I’m being charged.

nycFlat rate vs. Peak hours pricing: The other day I took the DC metro home from Franconia-Springfield at night (end of the line) and it cost me around $2. To get there (around 6pm) cost me more than $4. Absurdity. That’s a kick in the ass to people who want to save money (and therefore less CO2 emission) by using public transportation.

Another result of the latter two complaints: no monthly unlimited ride cards. Once again, kick in the ass to daily commuters. This doesn’t affect me as much since I bike to school everyday, and wouldn’t buy a monthly card anyway.

To be fair, the DC metro has three advantages:

1) A clean system. I would trade this for a 24 hour system, but it’s nice.
2) Schedules. Supposedly NYC has this too, especially visible on the L, but it’s nice to know exactly how long you’ll be waiting once you get to the station.
3) Better cards. DC has nice cards which are magnetic and you can just tap. NYC has that too, but I never used it because it was only with Citibank, and incompatible with monthly cards. It’s nice because I don’t have to take a card out of my wallet, and can even just bump my ass against the reader.

Overall, the DC metro system isn’t bad, but I miss the conveniences of the NYC subway.

[1]: This is completely unrelated to the recent, tragic red line accident, just coincidental timing.

[Photo: Flickr]
[Photo: Flickr]

Grown used to DC
Still miss parts of NYC
Always fun to rant


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