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The London Tube vs. The NYC Subway

posted by Victoria DiPiazza


I always told myself if I can get around NYC I can get around any city, but London took a couple days of getting used to! NYC's grid system is the easiest to use so we have been treated well with the ease of NYC maps. London is a much bigger city than NYC, so you have to plan for more time to get around on the lines.

Here are a list of things I have found different between the London Tube and the NYC Subway systems:

  1. If you think getting down to the E on 53rd and Lex is the longest escalator ever then you've seen nothing until you've taken the London tube! Almost all of the tube stations are much farther underground than the NYC subway. Imagine getting on the E escalator every time, sometimes even twice to get to a certain train!
  2. Cleanliness! The London Tube is SOOO much cleaner than the NYC Subway. It is rare that you see a piece of garbage or a pizza rat on the tube.
  3. People are not rude and pushy like NYC and will respect your personal space on the morning commute.
  4. Interior_Tube.jpgThe seats have cushions and are quite comfortable compared to the plastic seats on a NYC subway.
  5. After being here for a month I have yet to experience any train delays or "train traffic ahead of us." The tube runs smoothly and is always on time so you an count on it getting you where you need to be and when.
  6. The NYC subway is cheaper than the London Underground. In London, you have to scan in and scan out of the station you start and end at. Your card then calculates how far you have gone charging you more for a farther journey. 
  7. The tube map is split up by zones. If you travel only within zone 1 you are hitting all of the main spots but for my internship I have to go out to zone 3. Only by one stop into zone 3 too, therefor my monthly tube card is a bit more than the one for zones 1-2.
  8. Oyster_Card.jpgLondon’s tube card is called an Oyster card and to refill it they refer to it as a "top up."
  9. On all of the buses and subways they use contactless payment so all you have to do is scan you card on the touch pad and you are good to go. They also accept credit cards if you don't have an Oyster card.
  10. You can apply for a student discount card here in London. I save 30% on my Oyster card monthly expenses! If only NYC had that option for college students we would be saving a good amount of money!
  11. The tube can get crowded, but it is no where near close to as bad as the express 4/5 from union square to grand central is during rush hour

Although London takes a bit longer to get around than NYC, I think I will miss the tubes cleanliness and friendly people when I return back to NYC! 

Topics: London, study abroad, New York City