Saturday, January 31, 2009

We Need More Lines


Trains break down and that sucks. Sometimes people leave garbage on the train. And of course, the work to repair escalators never ends. These aren't a big deal to me though. I mean, if too many people get on a train and the driver makes everyone get off, why cant people at the next station get on? Is it broken at that point and it must go in for repairs? Whatever, it doesn't matter.

To me, the biggest problem by far is that there are not enough lines and the lines do not go far enough out. We have 5 lines. That's it. Hardly any of them go much beyond 10 miles from city center. New York has a lot more lines. If you look at a map of Manhattan's subway system, there are lines and stops everywhere. We should be more like that. There also needs to be a "beltway" line that goes around the city so you can go from one place to another without having to go downtown. It might be a good idea to have trains run on different tracks. For example, could we have an orange train start in Vienna, go to Rosslyn, switch to the blue line, go down to Pentagon, cross the river to L'Enfant Plaza, then continue to New Carrolton? OK, the logistics might be weird since trains make have to switch directions but you get the idea. They do this sort of thing on holidays. Also, could we have more trains at night? If you go to, say, Metro Center at 11PM on a Friday, the train is packed. Think maybe they should have more than 1 train/line every 20 minutes? Seriously though, more lines and lines that go farther out, like to the edge of the suburbs, should be the most important priority

Some things are nice and better than other subways. I like how the seats are nicer, the cars have carpet, and in stations there are signs telling you when the next train will come. I also like the stations that have signs like that as soon as you walk down the first set of stairs from the street. At the same time though, if by eliminating carpet on cars, we could raise enough money to build new lines/stations, then we need to do that. Oh, and why cant I feed multiple metro cards into a machine and have it consolidate the money on those cards into a single ticket?

1 comment:

Distantantennas said...

Actually, you can consolidate multiple paper farecards onto a smart trip card.

As for most of your other questions - money and time. Later night service, for example, wouldn't get enough riders to be economically viable, and also cut into time for maintenance. Setting up and taking apart maintenance sites takes time, and they really can't be squeezed much more.

I'd strongly recommend Zachary Schrag's 'The Great Society Subway' which discusses a lot of the compromises that had to go into the system to get it built at all. Holding out for a more expansive system would almost certainly have meant none at all.

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