For those who don’t know, apparently a major fire crippled the A and C subway lines. The current theory is a homeless person started a fire for warmth, and it went out of control seriously damaging some subway control room-type place. Originally they were saying they’d need three to five years to repair it. This is probably because the system is so old that anyone who knows anything about it is dead. Recently they changed their story saying that it might only take a matter of months instead of years. It’s scary that one of the most extensive subway systems in the country is also one of the oldest if not the oldest.

This is why you have to go to other cities or countries to see what a subway system of the 21st century actually looks like. Japan has air conditioned subway stations plus they have an actual schedule for their subway that’s accurate to the second. It’s so accurate in fact, that when the subway is late the subway staff hands you a note to give to your boss at work explaining that you were late because of the subway. Taiwan’s new subway system is really nice too. The trains are really quiet, and they have subway cards you don’t even have to take out of your wallet or purse to scan across the turnstile reader in order to get through (I’m told they have these in France too).

The Star Trek trains that are on the 2-3 and 4-5-6 lines are a nice start with the shiny seats, subway maps with LEDs and automated announcements (albeit out of date in some cases) are a step forward, but there are still a ton of things the MTA could do with that surplus they had when they decided they need to raise the fare. I for one would like to see them invest in clearer speaker systems. Though that still won’t account for the people they hire who take a particular pleasure in butchering the English language.