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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What can NYC Subway learn from the Tube?

The people that run New York's subway system want to enter into a two year consultancy contract with Transport for London. They feel that they've got a lot to learn from the London Underground - including our Oyster cards and arrival time indicators at station & bus stops.

An ill Platform Indicator

This would be a no-bid consultancy "Rather than having to bring in high-priced consultants, we’re getting experts with success already in doing these things, and getting them at public sector costs," said Jeremy Soffin, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). Staff members from London would charge $125 to $200 an hour, according to a document released this week & reported in The New York Times (thanks to Emiana for the heads up for this).

New York Subway - Saturday morning

New York's subway doesn't have off peak fares (although they also don't have our very high peak fares to start off with) and they seem to be excited about this idea

"It would save New York money; we deserve it to be lowered," said commuter Shakiba Hickman. "We want lower fares, but better service. We have to be working around the MTA, not the MTA working around us."

However others were sceptical about off peak travel and wondered if the discounts would really encourage more people to use mass transit on weekends. Susan G. Metzger, an MTA said, "I want to sit back and see what it really entails for us. Many people who use the subway don't really have an alternative. The only alternate would be a taxi, and our subway pricing is pretty good." I took the picture above on a Saturday morning and it's hard to imagine even more overcrowded trains if travel became even cheaper at the weekends.

It will be interesting to see what comes out of this. I went to New York for the first time last year and it actually made me realise that we do have some things better in London.

Night Time Contractors on New York Subway

However, there's a lot that could be learnt from New York too and if the consultancy worked both ways, perhaps we'd find ourselves with slightly longer opening hours on the Tube (I know we'll never have the Tube running 24 hours). It was great to be able to travel late and actually see engineering & cleaning taking place while people were still travelling on the subway.

New York Subway Rules

Is there anything you think we can teach New York about subway travel? Perhaps not to call it subway but underground! And vice versa, what could they teach us?

UPDATE - Just learnt that Bob Crow's not happy about this proposal. He said "If these people are as good as they are being cracked up to be then they should remain in London sorting out our problems." Worryingly he's implied that it's increased the threat to walk out over pay - see Evening Standard.

; Posted by Annie Mole Tuesday, October 27, 2009 Permalink COMMENT HERE Add to Stumble Upon