Taxis and public transportation

I am a fan of public transportation, particularly in Paris.  The subway spreads out like a tree across the city.  Stops are abundant, transferring is simple and the system is efficient. 

As NYC has grown, on the Westside in particular, the need for an extension of the subway system grows daily.  The 2nd Avenue subway….is that being built?  The Lower East Side has very few subways and the 2nd Avenue subway would feed right into that area from the UES.  As the city gets more crowded by the day, the need for better transportation options grow.  Putting money into transportation now is key for the future. 

Berlin has a subway system too.  Fred took is and said it was impressive.  Milan has one too.  I have actually seen renderings of trams (think gondolas) that are being thought about in crowded urban cities.  Places like Los Angeles, are in need of street cars, because I am not sure people in LA have a desire to go down into the ground. 

The taxi system in Berlin and NYC is excellent.  You can pretty much find a cab when you need one and you can hail it anywhere.  Paris, not such a great cab system.  You can't just hail a taxi.  You have to go to a taxi stand.  Also, if a hotel calls you one, Berlin is the same, the meter starts running once they start their journey to get you.  Bullshit, yes, but that is how it works.

On New Year's Eve, Jessica and Emily were at a Club and when they left, there were no taxis on the street.  In NYC, that wouldn't happen.  At 4am, you can grab a cab.  In Berlin, too.  They were both freaked as the streets were becoming a bit vacant and strange.  They texted me and I finally got someone in our hotel to help me out.  They told me that there were no cabs and it would take an hour.  Not the answer I was looking for.  After a bit of banter back and forth, they were able to find a "guy" they know who has a cab to pick them up.  Jean Claude saved the day and picked up the girls 5 minutes later and 2 other girls tried to maul them over the taxi but Jean Claude kept his ground.  Haven't got the bill yet for the normal 5 euro ride but I can only guess. 

As urban cities become more and more crowded, Europe actually does a pretty good job (except for the taxi situation at night), our country must put serious money into the infrastructure of our subways.  If NYC expanded the subway system up and down the areas that have been built up over the past 25 years…the LES and the Westside, we would probably see more people taking the system.  I also love the Quinn proposal of building up all of the piers so that NYC becomes a town that can be traveled easily through the water ways.  How cool would it be to jump on a boat on 96th and the Westside Highway and be down to Wall Street in 20 minutes on water.  We also need to do a better job of hooking up all the public transportation systems with the suburban rails that come into town so people would prefer to take the train instead of their car. 

I am thinking about this stuff.  Looking forward to see what Obama does with the infrastructure of our urban areas and where he puts money to create growth and new economies. 

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Comments (Archived):

  1. jackson

    I’ve been thinking about those things too. In NYC and a few other US cities the people are blessed with decent public transit, but then I think of Atlanta, LA, Dallas, and a host of other American cities that fail that test. What’s wrong with us? Europe has it sussed, like so many other aspects of society that we clearly lag behind them on.

  2. timo

    From the German perspective, it’s normal to take the public transportation to go somewhere when you travel and don’t want to rent a car. We are used to it and it’s very unusual for us not to use the subway and the so-called “ÖPNV” like busses, tram and subway. It’s really annoying to see that most the American cities does not provide that kind of infastructure.

    1. Gotham Gal

      It is crazy that American cities do not provide that kind of infrastructure.The next administration should change all that. States are ready to rollout programs immediately that will be funded in order to create growth forthe economy quickly.

      1. timo

        Right. It’s an important thing in a down economy to invest in infrastructure, education and such things.

  3. Gotham Gal

    Club was right off the Pont Alexander. The many times we have been to Paris, I have not found it easy to hail a cab. Regardless, we love the Metro which works just fine.joanne [email protected]

    1. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

      Le Showcase then. The area’s completely safe. But I agree empty Paris streets can feel pretty eerie at night.When you fail to hail a cab, it’s most likely because the cab is already taken, which is indicated by one of the three small lights below the “taxi” sign being on (each light indicates a different fare rate, which depends on time of day); when a cab is free, the big white “taxi” sign is on, and the small lights are off. I see a lot of tourists trying to hail busy cabs and ending up frustrated (if the busy light is on and there’s no one at the back it means the cab’s been called). Of course there’s always a handful of pig-headed cabdrivers who don’t pick up some people because they don’t like the look on their face or where they’re going, although that’s illegal. But it’s getting rarer and rarer.Hope that helps.

  4. Gotham Gal

    That was the club. Good info. I know the cab deal. Same thing happens in NYCjoanne [email protected]

  5. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

    Classic Paris. Yeah, there are no taxis at night. Your compliments on the subway system show you haven’t tried to ride it when there’s a strike, or to take the suburban trains…I’ve walked home from clubs in the middle of the night many many times — helps to walk off the drink. What club were they at? Most of the good ones are in safe areas although there are a couple like la Loco that are in so-so areas near Pigalle. But yes, the streets in Paris at night are eerily empty, except from a handful of places. Paris is pretty much a museum town.Btw, it’s not true that you can’t just hail a cab, of course you can.

  6. Joe

    While I think we all wish there could be more efficient, etc transportation here, we all have to remember that there will doubtfully be any sort of major improvement-even on that purported T line for a while given the past few months (economically speaking). So let’s not get our hopes up!