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Thread: What are the best and worst public transit systems you have ever ridden?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian The Terminator's avatar
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    What are the best and worst public transit systems you have ever ridden?

    For me DDOT in Detroit takes the cake for the worst for obvious reasons. Waited an hour for a Michigan Avenue bus to come when trying to get from where we were staying in Southwest, to go to Corktown to drink. Most of the band I was travelling with ended up taking a Cab while the Drummer and I stuck it out on DDOT, out of curiousity.

    I also am not a fan of OC Transpo in Ottawa. The "O-Train" was pretty poorly planned.

    In terms of best I will show my hometown bias and give it to NYCTA, as much as it aggrivates me sometimes. 24 Hour subway is unbeatable.

    Im also a fan of Vancouver's TransLink system. I love the SkyTrain.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Plus dvdneal's avatar
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    Haven't been on a lot of mass transit.

    NYC subways worked great for me back in the 90s.
    Phoenix is a little slow. The light rail is nice and the buses tend to provide 15 minute service, it just seems to be a long ride. I think it has more to do with things being miles apart and through traffic over bus use.
    Vegas has a nice system along the strip, but I have no idea how it serves the rest of the city.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Plus
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    When I lived in Denver - RTD was pretty good.
    Growing up in the Metro NY area - NJ Transit, PATH, & MTA were pretty good.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    I think I've only ever been on the CTA in Chicago, Metra commuter rail in Chicagoland, and the Washington Metro. I really like the Washington Metro...I like the interconnected nature of the system as opposed to the hub & spoke nature of the Chicago transit systems. I also like the fact that the Washington Metro serves both the city and the suburbs; I long hated that it didn't go out to Dulles and Tysons Corner, but now that they're finally extending it out that way, I've come to realize how much better Reagan National Airport is anyways. As far as Chicago goes, I like Metra and it is a much more comfortable way to ride, especially coming from the suburbs, but it always seems to take so long; I also wish they would get with the times and allow for some way to pay electronically. I'm not a huge fan of the CTA...it's always crowded and I always feel like I need to be more cognizant of my surroundings; I also wish it wasn't so hub & spoke-like. I've always been fascinated by the "L" though...the elevated wooden platforms, the old subway tunnels, etc. I feel like it would be nice if there was some sort of outer loop that connected the lines so that you could make a bee-line from O'Hare straight to Wrigley if you wanted, instead of having to go through downtown.

    I have yet to experience the mother of mass transit systems...New York. Otherwise, I feel like all the other systems in the U.S. are pretty inferior. I feel like the hierarchy is basically New York, DC & Chicago, and everything else.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
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  5. #5
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by The Terminator View post
    For me DDOT in Detroit takes the cake for the worst for obvious reasons. Waited an hour for a Michigan Avenue bus to come when trying to get from where we were staying in Southwest, to go to Corktown to drink. Most of the band I was travelling with ended up taking a Cab while the Drummer and I stuck it out on DDOT, out of curiousity.
    DDOT is indeed awful and the suburban version SMART, isn't much better. There is almost no integration between the two and efforts to build an actual regional system continue to fail. I've only used both sparingly and avoid them whenever possible. I will occasionally use SMART to get downtown on the weekends if I am going to be down there for a while and might be drinking. Thankfully, I live only a few blocks off of the main avenue through Detroit and it's northern 'burbs so I have relatively easy access to SMART and its express service downtown. However, if I wanted to use SMART to get from my neighborhood to some other neighborhood that might be a 20 minute drive away, it would probably take me 4 or 5 hours (I once mapped out what it would take to get to my office in a major government complex 8 miles from my house and it would have been a 2 hour process).

    In the U.S. I've ridden on systems in Seattle, Chicago, D.C., NYC (and Long Island), Los Angeles (and Orange County), Atlanta, Minneapolis, and Cleveland. Internationally, I've ridden on bus and rail systems in Montreal, Osaka, Hiroshima, Yokohama, Tokyo, Rome, Naha, Pusan, Seoul, Bangkok, Singapore, Manila, Vienna, and Barcelona. Systems in older European cities are not nearly as convenient or romantic as transit-boosters would have you believe and systems in Asian metros are about 1,000x more convenient but 10,000x more crowded.

    Of the ones I've ridden I think DC has the best balance of convenience, service area, and ease of navigation. However, riding in European or Asian systems is much less expensive than DC or most American systems I've used.

    Singapore and Montreal get honorable mention for how clean and quiet their subway systems are, thanks to their rubber tires. Some of the systems in Japan use rubber tires too but nothing compared to Singapore or Montreal.
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by The Terminator View post
    In terms of best I will show my hometown bias and give it to NYCTA, as much as it aggrivates me sometimes. 24 Hour subway is unbeatable.
    Worst ever--NYCTA from late-1960s to mid-1970s
    Best ever--NYCTA 2016

    Will I ever miss the NYCTA when I "emigrate" from The Big Apple!

  7. #7
    Cyburbian jsk1983's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner View post
    I think I've only ever been on the CTA in Chicago, Metra commuter rail in Chicagoland, and the Washington Metro. I really like the Washington Metro...I like the interconnected nature of the system as opposed to the hub & spoke nature of the Chicago transit systems. I also like the fact that the Washington Metro serves both the city and the suburbs; I long hated that it didn't go out to Dulles and Tysons Corner, but now that they're finally extending it out that way, I've come to realize how much better Reagan National Airport is anyways. As far as Chicago goes, I like Metra and it is a much more comfortable way to ride, especially coming from the suburbs, but it always seems to take so long; I also wish they would get with the times and allow for some way to pay electronically. I'm not a huge fan of the CTA...it's always crowded and I always feel like I need to be more cognizant of my surroundings; I also wish it wasn't so hub & spoke-like. I've always been fascinated by the "L" though...the elevated wooden platforms, the old subway tunnels, etc. I feel like it would be nice if there was some sort of outer loop that connected the lines so that you could make a bee-line from O'Hare straight to Wrigley if you wanted, instead of having to go through downtown.

    I have yet to experience the mother of mass transit systems...New York. Otherwise, I feel like all the other systems in the U.S. are pretty inferior. I feel like the hierarchy is basically New York, DC & Chicago, and everything else.
    Metra is fast during rush hour. But off peak they stop at almost every station which can sometimes be less than a mile apart. Point to point it can be faster than driving, even off peak when the average speed isn't that great. I mostly use it on the weekends to get back from bike rides in the suburbs.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by JNA View post
    Growing up in the Metro NY area... . . ... MTA were pretty good.
    JNA, we are contemporaries...
    You thought the NYC subways were "pretty good" from late-1960s to mid-1970s? I don't understand.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian The Terminator's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Shellac And Vinyl VelocitY View post
    Worst ever--NYCTA from late-1960s to mid-1970s
    Best ever--NYCTA 2016

    Will I ever miss the NYCTA when I "emigrate" from The Big Apple!
    Graffitti, out of control crime, roving gangs, 1930s rolling stock that had been defferd of maintenance since the 50s constantly breaking down, people pissing in the trains, slashings, purse snatchings, Pelham 123 getting taken, 2 elevated lines closing because crime and poor maintenance had made them unridable, lights that would flicker at every track junction, unintelliganle announcements, an "airport express" that was slower than taking a freaking cab, foul oders, puking winos, disgruntled nam vets begging at every Manhattan station, homeless people living in the tunnels, windows covered in tags that you couldnt see out of, NO AIR CONDITIONING, Bernie Goetz shooting kids, confusing line designations like "kk" and "LL", constant ambience of fear and rolling service outages due to constant signal failure.

    Come on, whats NOT to love about NYC Transit 1968-1990! How romantic it was.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally posted by The Terminator View post
    Graffitti, out of control crime, roving gangs, 1930s rolling stock that had been defferd of maintenance since the 50s constantly breaking down, people pissing in the trains, slashings, purse snatchings, Pelham 123 getting taken, 2 elevated lines closing because crime and poor maintenance had made them unridable, lights that would flicker at every track junction, unintelliganle announcements, an "airport express" that was slower than taking a freaking cab, foul oders, puking winos, disgruntled nam vets begging at every Manhattan station, homeless people living in the tunnels, windows covered in tags that you couldnt see out of, NO AIR CONDITIONING, Bernie Goetz shooting kids, confusing line designations like "kk" and "LL", constant ambience of fear and rolling service outages due to constant signal failure.

    Come on, whats NOT to love about NYC Transit 1968-1990! How romantic it was.
    My first email address was based on a tag on a NYC transit car - "button161" - and, yeah, it was mano-a-mano when you rode up to the Bronx or out to Queens. Kudos for turning that around.

    I also like Boston's transit and Chicago's El is fantastic. I didn't ride DC's system enough to get a feel, but what I did didn't impress me.
    Batter up!

  11. #11
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Ok

    The Best- Runs and is on time most of the time
    Good- Runs
    Bad- Does not run or has not been built yet
    “The way of acquiescence leads to moral and spiritual suicide. The way of violence leads to bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers. But, the way of non-violence leads to redemption and the creation of the beloved community.”
    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
    - See more at: http://www.thekingcenter.org/king-ph....r7W02j3S.dpuf

  12. #12
    Cyburbian MacheteJames's avatar
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    Any MTA NYC Transit bus at rush hour. The cross-town Manhattan average speed is 4mph. You can literally walk faster. Nothing like a face full of armpit as the bus lurches its way through dense rush hour traffic.

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    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    I guess I've been lucky. Growing up in Portland we had Trimet which operates bus and light rail. It's only gotten better over time, but wasn't ever really bad.

    Now I live in NJ and ride NJT, PATH, and all the NYC variants. Bus service for anything other than a short jaunt sucks, rail is better but it seems any weather event causes delays, subway and PATH can't be beat for 24 hour service.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  14. #14
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Worst is Detroit. Best was a tie between NYC and Chicago. Philly and DC are not bad, but not to the convenience level of the big dogs.
    There is no such thing as failure, only learning experiences. However, it is our choice to learn the lesson and change or not.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Rygor's avatar
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    In order of cleanliness that I've ridden:

    Phoenix
    Denver
    Minneapolis
    Toronto
    DC
    Atlanta
    Chicago

    In order of usefulness (ease of use, connectivity, and number of useful or interesting destinations) that I've ridden:

    DC
    Toronto
    Chicago
    Atlanta
    Denver
    Minneapolis
    Phoenix
    "When life gives you lemons, just say 'No thanks'." - Henry Rollins

  17. #17
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Hmmm

    Odor ranking:

    1- Smells like piss
    5- Smells like BO
    10- Smells like roses

    Philly = 1
    DC = 4
    Boston = 8
    Maryland = 9
    Denver = 8
    Phoenix = 10
    London = 5
    “The way of acquiescence leads to moral and spiritual suicide. The way of violence leads to bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers. But, the way of non-violence leads to redemption and the creation of the beloved community.”
    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
    - See more at: http://www.thekingcenter.org/king-ph....r7W02j3S.dpuf

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    As a Boston native I feel obligated to make a disparaging comment about the MBTA here. But in reality it's better than most transit systems in the USA.

    I'd say the best is London's, New York, Portland and Toronto are tied for second.

    Worst is hard to day, there are lots of smaller cities with little or no transit. For a large city, I think I was surprised about how little coverage there was in Seattle for non-bus service.

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