It’s clean, fairly quick, efficient… I mean, look at this station. Okay, so it’s not the work of art that some of the stations in Prague and (I’m led to believe) Moscow are (and not all the stations are this nice), but they were designed to be palaces of the people, and this fits the bill nicely.
All the stations are fully manned… Okay so there’s maybe a quarter the number of stations as London, but I mean fully manned, not empty save for some glorified-cleaner who barely knows where the Oyster top-up machines are.
Here’s a good idea… Some of the stations which are close to being underneath one of the many waterways running through Saint Pete’s grounds have waterproof doors. No consolation if you are stuck on a train when it all caves in (and I’m not convinced I’d even like to be on this side of the doors in that eventuality), but the thought is nice.
Oh, but here’s the killer app! About half of London’s tube stations have a wifi signal… Here you get full mobile coverage in all stations…. AND on the trains! Okay, so whilst on the train it is a bit noisy to effectively make a call, and at some points you may momentarily lose signal, but you have mobile internet and everything down there.
Such technology must surely come at a cost? London can’t manage that and charges over £4 for a single fare in zone 1… Dear reader, you know damn well what’s coming…
But I’m still going to start a new paragraph for it! I’m allowed. It’s my blog.
Another new paragraph? Jesus, I’m in decadent mood today!… Anyway, you can go as far as you like on this Metro thing for only 28 roubles! And I can be arsed doing the research on that one because I have an app right next to me for just such occasions. Just over 39 of your English pence!… and for my American readers (who’d have thought I’d get American readers?… oh yes, there was that post that repeatedly mentioned the FBI… hello American reader by the way) just under 61 and a half cents.
There are a couple of oddities however… Firstly, there technically aren’t any interchange stations. Instead you’ll get one station on one line linking with another station on another line (and at one point another station too on another line). A bit like Bank and Monument I guess, but without the walk. This means that you can have up to three stations in the same place (potentially each with multiple exits) so meeting someone can be more complicated than it needs to be.
The closest that they get to admitting that these are essentially the same stations is calling them [station name] 1 and [station name] 2, and at one point Obvodnyi Kanal 5 and Obvodnyi Kanal 6… Obviously there are no stations named Obvodnyi Kanal 1 thru 4, as that would be too logical.
The second oddity is most oddest though. If you look closely (or click to zoom in) on this picture of nice people waiting for the train to arrive you may notice a timer in the background reading 1:46. Well that’s all fairly normal, you may think, why shouldn’t they have a timer to let you know when the next train is? It even has seconds. Wow, with this Metro, Saint Pete is really spoiling us!
But it isn’t the time until the next train. It’s (the far less useful) how long you’ve missed the last train by?!? The idiocy of this was first pointed out to me back in February when I first came to visit Saint Pete, and I have asked quite a few Russian friends if they have an explanation, most of whom don’t seem to have noticed. One posited that the trains are normally 3 or 4 minutes apart so if it reads more than that then you’re train is overdue.
Well that’s always good to know, I think you’ll agree?? I’m sure this could easily be turned into something which was actually of some use, but maybe they’ve spent all the money on the grand gesture of putting in the mobile coverage (and subsidising the fares) to worry about something that only a contrary swine like myself would ever dare point out. This is after all, a country of such incongruencies… or maybe they genuinely haven’t realised what a pointless thing it is… or feel that changing it now would amount to an embarrassing climb-down? It’s a strange place. I wouldn’t put any of these options past them…