U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > New York > New York City
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
Old 08-27-2010, 09:18 PM
39 posts, read 156,966 times
Reputation: 29


I grew up in DC and I know the Metro like the back of my hand. They should give me an award for riding Metro so much, like a golden customer discount or something!

But anyways, Ill be in the city frequently pretty soon thanks to college, and I wanted to know exactly how much of a difference it is when comparing the DC Metro vs. NYC Subway in terms of rush hour crowding, ease of use and getting around, rudeness from others, cost, traveling time.

On a side note that's a little unrelated, people always complain about NYers being so rude and just plain unfriendly. Well, in all my trips to NYC, I really cannot see the things people complain about. I see the same aggressiveness in New Yorkers I would see in Washingtonians, the people here don't walk THAT fast to me (then again, Washingtonians walk slow as hell to me!), and I don't get some sense of "I'm in a warzone and it's every man for themselves" that people seem to relate to NYC. But who knows, maybe DC is the same way and I just don't realize it.

Alot of people from DC basically say I'm going to be in for a rude awakening when I start traveling around NYC on a daily basis, but IMO, I really don't think I'll see much of a difference from when I traveled around DC on a daily basis. If anybody is from DC and has moved to NYC, please tell me about your experience!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

Old 08-27-2010, 09:29 PM
39 posts, read 156,966 times
Reputation: 29
Just as a side-note, I would hope this thread does not turn into a "New York subway is better because we run 24 hrs" or "DC subway is better because we are cleaner" fighting type of thread. That is not what Im looking for. I can careless about cleanliness or how long it stays open.

My main concern is the people. Basically, will the average NY subway car be a major culture shock to me because of the general atmosphere, attitudes of people on the train compared to the atmosphere and people of the average DC subway car. Thanks!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-27-2010, 11:28 PM
Location: Long Island/NYC
11,334 posts, read 17,104,436 times
Reputation: 6075
I didn't really use the subway in NYC but encountering a crazy person is in between common and rare. The NYC Subway is a bit rowdier overall in my experience (not that much though), I actually find the buses to be rowdier than both city's subways which sounds odd.

I highly doubt it'd be a culture shock, people paint NYers/NJians as well...are you familiar with Ludacris's song "Move ____, get out the way" lol some are but so are some Washingtonians but it's not even like that and I walk slow (most of the time).

I lived in both NYC (and it's Metro area) & the D.C. Metro area.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-28-2010, 06:29 AM
Location: Brooklyn
40,056 posts, read 30,536,331 times
Reputation: 10490
Originally Posted by MadTVFreak View Post
My main concern is the people. Basically, will the average NY subway car be a major culture shock to me because of the general atmosphere, attitudes of people on the train compared to the atmosphere and people of the average DC subway car. Thanks!
Ridership on the New York City subways averages slightly over four million per day. That should give you something to try and envision!

By the way, welcome to New York. And if you haven't seen any of my previous postings, I work for MTA as a tower operator. I'm open for answering questions (although you can't ask me anything technical. Not allowed to respond to that kind of thing!)
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-28-2010, 06:49 AM
Location: Bronx
16,230 posts, read 18,698,398 times
Reputation: 8167
I really liked DC subway better then nyc subway, much more cleaner and the train ride was much more smoother. DC subway system is way ahead of MTA in terms of technology, they were using swipe fares and pay for ride vending machines way before mta came out with the metrocard. THe only thing great about nyct is taht it runs 24 hours. As a side note nyct is the largest transit system in the nation and the dc metro is the 2nd largest and busiest system in the country.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-28-2010, 07:13 AM
32,089 posts, read 32,994,562 times
Reputation: 14956
The NYC subway system is much older than the Washington DC system. But it is very extensive and reaches most part of the city and is fairly reliable. It runs 24/7. In NYC you pay per each ride the same amount (currently $2.25) no matter how far you travel. (If I remember correctly in the DC system the fare varies according to the distance traveled.) In NYC if you use the system frequently enough you can buy an unlimited metrocard for one week or one month. If you buy a regular metrocard, currently you get an extra $1.50 for every $10 you add to the card.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-28-2010, 11:05 AM
n/a posts
The attitudes of the people often reflect the train and the service-

Trains in NYC will be considerably more crowded- and the trains are more 'diverse' since many people are on trains to connect, rather than just starting at one destination and ending there.
You can kind of guess who you will see on the Vienna to City Center train in DC- quite a diff crowd from 42nd up to Columbia.

One major thing I find that irritates people this time of year is most NYC subway stations are not air conditioned and are EXTREMELY hot and smelly in the summer. When you're waiting 20-30 minutes for a train that should have been there a while ago- you can get irked.

No phone service in most stations/ lines either so it's harder to keep in contact if you're late.

Also there are almost no 'next train' available signs- so you often wait sort of not knowing what's next.

The only real advantages you'll find are again, the 24 hour of service, and you can purchase unlimited rides for 30 days for less than $100. If you ride the subway a LOT, you'll find this is a major savings over D.C. metro.

I'd say DC passengers are a better breed, since they are riding a much more comfortable and modern system- of course however, more classes of people ride the NYC subway, on account that driving into the city center just isn't as much of a possibility. The people I know in DC who are pretty wealthy would never consider taking the Metro.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-28-2010, 12:28 PM
Location: SoCal
31 posts, read 72,772 times
Reputation: 20
NYC subway system is old and is running well over the capacity for which it was designed. It is one of the first subways systems ever, and it shows. The signaling system is outdated (not automated). It was not originally built as a coherent metro transit system, but was the product of multiple competing private companies, with the result that some areas are much better served than others, and that going N/S in Manhattan is easy but E/W can be long and circuitous. (The outer boroughs are altogether poorly served.)

It all means: long delays due to underground congestion (I ride the A express and during weekday rush hour spend as much time sitting underground waiting to pull into a station, as I do actually moving, and at a pace much slower than the trains can actually go). A sick passenger, accident, police action, or flooding due to slightly heavy rain anywhere in the system, can cause extensive delays. These delays are all too common. Because the system runs 24/7, maintenance and repairs take place only late nights and weekends. This means seemingly endless repairs causing weekend service disruptions for years. During rush hour, prepare to be packed in with barely any breathing room. I commute the length of Manhattan on an express train at rush hour from N to S. It takes an hour to go the 10 miles (entire island is only 11 miles long).

A few years ago, a homeless person seeking refuge from winter cold made a fire to keep himself warm while sheltering in an underground station. The fire spread, and the signals were knocked out all along the IND line. MTA officials were estimating that there would be major delays for several months, until Mayor Bloomberg made a big fuss and then the delays were much shorter..

Which brings me to the politics: It does not help that NYC transit is part of the Metropolitan Transit Authority, which is run out of Albany. That means NYC does not actually have much control over its own transit system. Remember when NYC Transit was on strike right before Christmas several years ago? Then negotiations were with MTA (Albany) but it was the city that had to bear the brunt. You can imagine the dysfunction resulting from the misaligned priorities of Albany running the city's transit. The politics also mean that the stations in wealthier or more tourist-frequented areas are kept much better shape.

And then there are the demographics: Everyone rides the NYC subways except maybe the rich. That means homeless people do find refuge there. You can identify a cars with homeless people because they will be mostly empty near where the homeless person is sitting. Occasionally there will be the mentally ill, perverts who expose themselves and grope, and pickpockets too. Late night there are drunks. Both beggars and performers are there (illegally) asking for money, and there are loud obnoxious tough street kids who may or may not harass you just for fun. There are the self-appointed preachers who decide to shout their words to a captive audience. There are middle class and working class commuters, artists, elderly people needing assistance, tourists who might ask you directions, and immigrants who can't speak any English. There are the subway workers who shout instructions at riders over the PA systems that makes their words unintelligible. The subways are a slice of colorful NYC life where you will see more or less everyone except those living in the rarefied strata. And you will stand close enough to them to be able to smell them. No joke.

In contrast, whenever I go to DC, I just MARVEL at the metro! So clean, so organized, so full of mostly law-abiding middle class workers and tourists, so downright beautiful... But what else to expect in a showcase capital city?? (Consider how stunningly beautiful Union Train Station is, compared to what was done to Penn Station in Manhattan, and what was almost done to Grand Central Terminal before people organized to protest against it - having seen the destruction of Penn Station.)

Having said all that, I still love the NYC subway. It is the reason one doesn't need a car in Manhattan. An unlimited ride metrocard pass gets you everywhere for a month, for $80. It is still the quickest way to get around the city, without risking your life on a bike. Driving in the city is frustrating and stressful. Cabs are cheap compared to other cities but costs add up. I love the ability to walk outside, hop on the train and be somewhere else.

As for the rudeness/niceness of New Yorkers, what both sides say is 100% true. There are incredibly rude and aggressive people and also some very nice people. Most are in-between, like people anywhere. But NYC life polarizes everyone in the direction they are wont to go. When you have to push your way onto and off of the subway because the cars are packed and the doors are about to close, when you are competing with 10 others on a street corner to hail a cab, when you circle to find a parking spot for 30 minutes, when you have to drive in a way that prevents others from constantly cutting in front of you... it is easy to become rude and aggressive! But most New Yorkers are transplants who are as nice as anyone from the place they came from. And the various areas of the city like a collections of little villages in which long-time residents know everyone and are very friendly and will chat with you for an hour if you indicate that you are willing, and who will go out of their way to help you.

I have been harassed on the subway, and I have also had a quick-acting stranger save my life when I tripped and nearly fell onto the tracks.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-28-2010, 12:34 PM
Location: SoCal
31 posts, read 72,772 times
Reputation: 20
I should also add, that despite everything I said, I also marvel that the NYC subways function as well as they do, given how old the system is, how many people ride every day, and how it has to run 24/7. The subways are the life-blood of the city. Without functional public transport, this city is in trouble.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-28-2010, 03:36 PM
Location: Orlando
259 posts, read 743,714 times
Reputation: 79
People in NYC are way more efficient at riding the subway than the metro. I remember one day when I was in the metro station & as I approached the escalator down to the platform & people were yelling at us to not come down because it was too crowded and we'd have to push people off of the platform if we went down. Well it turns out that it was because people just kept getting off of the escalator and staying there as opposed to moving down the platform. So I just went all of the way to the other end and took that escalator down. So dumb! I hope I painted a proper picture. Anyway you'd never see anything like that in the subway. It baffled me.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.

Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > New York > New York City
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top