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Old 06-06-2009, 06:28 AM   #1
tommym96
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London Mass Transit

Hey all,

I'm in London right now and have been getting around mainly via the "Underground"- London's subway system. It is unbelievable; clean, fast, and efficient. Coming from taking the train in Boston every day to taking the train here has been a breathe of fresh air (certainly figuratively).

Living in Boston, I was frustrated with the MBTA and really disliked much about it. Now, I'm really disappointed having to go home to it. What are the chances that the MBTA, despite being debt riddled, could secure some type of funding to improve the system whether it be quicker service or even something as basic as new signs actually giving easy, user-friendly directions rather than a large map of the entire subway system? Has anyone ever used the London "Underground"? Thoughts?
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Old 06-06-2009, 11:47 AM   #2
daimio1
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Re: London Mass Transit

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Originally Posted by tommym96 View Post
Hey all,

I'm in London right now and have been getting around mainly via the "Underground"- London's subway system. It is unbelievable; clean, fast, and efficient. Coming from taking the train in Boston every day to taking the train here has been a breathe of fresh air (certainly figuratively).

Living in Boston, I was frustrated with the MBTA and really disliked much about it. Now, I'm really disappointed having to go home to it. What are the chances that the MBTA, despite being debt riddled, could secure some type of funding to improve the system whether it be quicker service or even something as basic as new signs actually giving easy, user-friendly directions rather than a large map of the entire subway system? Has anyone ever used the London "Underground"? Thoughts?
last time i was in london, there was a transit strike, which i hear is fairly common, and alot of partial line closures, which i also hear is quite common. plus each one way trip was about 4 pounds, which is what, 6USD.

it is great system for getting around when you are visting, but i bet a london commuter would marvel at the T if they come over here. the grass is always greener
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Old 06-06-2009, 02:29 PM   #3
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Re: London Mass Transit

Plus you can drink on it
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Old 06-06-2009, 05:10 PM   #4
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Re: London Mass Transit

not anymore you can't.
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Old 06-06-2009, 05:15 PM   #5
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Re: London Mass Transit

oh no! when did that change?
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Old 06-07-2009, 09:02 AM   #6
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Re: London Mass Transit

I'm not sure the exact date, but I believe it was one of the first acts of the new mayor. My roommates were study abroad there at the time, and said the last night before the ban was just amazing parties on the underground where people would just ride the train and drink all night.
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Old 06-07-2009, 10:13 AM   #7
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Re: London Mass Transit

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I'm not sure the exact date, but I believe it was one of the first acts of the new mayor. My roommates were study abroad there at the time, and said the last night before the ban was just amazing parties on the underground where people would just ride the train and drink all night.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2064...s-violent.html


this is making my day
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Old 06-07-2009, 10:45 AM   #8
JohnAKeith
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Re: London Mass Transit

May 31, 2008. We were there that weekend. Oy.

Fortunately, drinking in the streets continued, unabated.
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Old 06-08-2009, 06:49 AM   #9
SeamusMcFly
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Re: London Mass Transit

I was in London about 15 years ago, and I was very impressed with "The Tube". It went everywhere, was easy to transfer between lines, and what I thought was the best part was that most of the stations were connected via walkable tunnels. That is what I found to be the major difference between there and here. You have options and possible ways of getting around, below ground. Not to mention those below ground tunnels and vast areas saved a lot of lives during the German bombings in WWII.

Nothing quite like walking up out of the Tube for the first time and walking right into Picadilly Circus. Quite a memory.
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Old 06-08-2009, 10:32 AM   #10
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Re: London Mass Transit

Hope you enjoy London, Tommy! I lived in London from 2001 to 2005 and had to rely on this system.

Pros:

Extremely extensive, goes everywhere in the center, has a nice urban ring in the form of the Circle Line, and many lines radiate outwards, becoming suburban-rail-like. However, see the first 'con'.

Very transparent operations. For example, every station has very accurate electronic train arrival indicators. Construction, route changes, etc are always communicated very well. The Tube much more than the MBTA has a customer-centric mindset.

Unfortunatley, there aren't any other major pros I can think of! And now...

Cons:

Whilst extensive, the Tube hardly goes south of the Thames, underserving a surprisingly large segment of the urban area which is forced to rely on scheduled suburban rail. East London is also poorly served, although the DLR (Docklands Light Rail) helps the situation.

EXPENSIVE. A one-way ride in the central zone without a travelcard costs 4 pounds. At the height of the pound, this was $8! Now it's around $6. With a travelcard we're still talking around $4 for the same ride. And this goes rapidly upwards as you travel into more distant zones.

The system is technologically antiquated requiring constant construction and replacement. Certain lines like the District and Circle lines are less reliable than the Green Line. This is true.

THERE IS NO AIR CONDITIONING.

Virtually no stations are handicapped accessible. Even able-bodied people struggle with luggage and bags on the dozens of steps and long crowded hallways in most stations.

Pubs in London typically close at 11:30, and the Tube doesn't stay open that much longer.

THERE IS NO AIR CONDITIONING!

--> Overall, I found myself walking as much as possible to avoid taking the Tube. London's center, for such a large city, is actually surprisingly compact - no more than an hour or so walking from "The City" (the financial district) in the east to Kensington in the west via the West End (theater and entertainment district).
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Old 06-08-2009, 12:04 PM   #11
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Re: London Mass Transit

Wait London's bars have a closing time and it's 11:30 pm?
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Old 06-08-2009, 12:14 PM   #12
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Wait London's bars have a closing time and it's 11:30 pm?
No ... Not sure what he's talking about. I remember being at a pub until 4am in London last year. Some clubs are open all night through the morning.
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Old 06-08-2009, 12:28 PM   #13
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Re: London Mass Transit

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No ... Not sure what he's talking about. I remember being at a pub until 4am in London last year. Some clubs are open all night through the morning.
I think the neighborhoody pubs close around this time, as opposed to the party pubs. I remember at least one well known pub that I attended closing at this point.
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Old 06-08-2009, 12:35 PM   #14
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Re: London Mass Transit

You're right that, in the center especialy, the tourist pubs and lounges do stay open late (nightclubs go without saying), but there are extremely few and limited late-closing licenses around the city. Standard last call for pubs is 11pm, and chairs start going up on the tables at 1130. It's actually a very early city overall if you're just looking to do casual drinking. If you're really out to party in a loud lounge or club you could certainly have a late night though.

But I think that's the tragedy: I would love to sit in a quiet pub until 3am. Nightclubs and lounges just give me a headache, and besides, who wants a froofroo drink when you could have a shining glass of premium dark bitter?

Alas, I digress. Fact is that this has changed a bit since I've left in 2005 - I was there a couple months ago and they seem to be relaxing some of the across-the-board late license restrictions.
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Old 06-08-2009, 07:27 PM   #15
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Re: London Mass Transit

That's what (I think/imagine) is nice about the Middle East and, what's it called, the tapas place next door? Party hard, and then when you're tired and have a headache, go sit in a quieter place to grab some food and drink.
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Old 06-08-2009, 11:37 PM   #16
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Re: London Mass Transit

I had no problems with the Underground the few times I had a chance to ride it. I'm sure the lack of air conditioning would be unbearable in the summer...fortunately I was there in the winter. Echoing Shepard, I appreciated their transparency. They were at least frank about announcing delays - total opposite of the T (at least, prior to the new website/SMS announcements?).

Since I never strayed far from The City/Westminster, I wasn't bothered by the lack of coverage outside the central city, but if you look at maps it does seem less densely covered than, say, Paris.
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Old 06-10-2009, 02:05 AM   #17
tommym96
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Re: London Mass Transit

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shepard View Post
Hope you enjoy London, Tommy! I lived in London from 2001 to 2005 and had to rely on this system.
Cons:

Whilst extensive, the Tube hardly goes south of the Thames, underserving a surprisingly large segment of the urban area which is forced to rely on scheduled suburban rail. East London is also poorly served, although the DLR (Docklands Light Rail) helps the situation.

EXPENSIVE. A one-way ride in the central zone without a travelcard costs 4 pounds. At the height of the pound, this was $8! Now it's around $6. With a travelcard we're still talking around $4 for the same ride. And this goes rapidly upwards as you travel into more distant zones.

The system is technologically antiquated requiring constant construction and replacement. Certain lines like the District and Circle lines are less reliable than the Green Line. This is true.

THERE IS NO AIR CONDITIONING.

Virtually no stations are handicapped accessible. Even able-bodied people struggle with luggage and bags on the dozens of steps and long crowded hallways in most stations.

Pubs in London typically close at 11:30, and the Tube doesn't stay open that much longer.

THERE IS NO AIR CONDITIONING!

--> Overall, I found myself walking as much as possible to avoid taking the Tube. London's center, for such a large city, is actually surprisingly compact - no more than an hour or so walking from "The City" (the financial district) in the east to Kensington in the west via the West End (theater and entertainment district).
Thanks! I got home yesterday and had the time of my life.

I agree with being handicapped accessible. Once getting into the the station, which is about 10 steps below ground, it is accessible but there is a real problem getting down/up from there.

I think the tube stayed open until 12:50- around the same as Boston.

I had great weather (surprisingly) while I was in London and it never seemed to be particularly hot in the underground stations. Maybe there was some sort of air system installed? I didn't even think to look.

It was pricey although I didn't have a major problem as it was SO quick and so user-friendly. With an Oyster Card (Charlie Card), I believe it was about 2.75 pounds per trip; still expensive but, arguably, worth it.

But I also agree with walking. My first few days I was taking the tube from Piccadilly to Leicester Square when they are literally right next to each other!
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Old 06-11-2009, 12:06 PM   #18
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Re: London Mass Transit

I was in London for 4 days, Ill post my tube review next week, but heres a couple important points:

My friend and I flew out of London City Airport, accessible by DLR (light rail). I flew out Friday, he flew out Saturday.

The system was closed for the weekend but there were no posters or info warning about it. No shuttle buses were provided. He missed his flight.

The tube is on a 48 hour strike right now.

Complain about Boston, but at least our closures come with shuttle buses. In London, youre screwed.
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Old 06-11-2009, 12:21 PM   #19
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Re: London Mass Transit

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I had great weather (surprisingly) while I was in London and it never seemed to be particularly hot in the underground stations. Maybe there was some sort of air system installed? I didn't even think to look.
Fun fact: The default summertime temperature of Boston subway stations is about 55 F. The heat dumped into the tunnels by the AC units on the trains is what brings it up to the sweltering temps we all experience every year.

Thermodynamics.
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Old 06-11-2009, 01:09 PM   #20
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Re: London Mass Transit

ablarc brought up a very good point the last time this came up.

Why can't they just shut the AC down as they enter the tunnels?
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