Sunday, July 5, 2009

Chicago Vs. Philadelphia

I'm temporarily back in Philadelphia before embarking on another Manhattan apartment search, and while I haven't spent much time thinking about how Chicago compares to my home city, my travel experience from the Philadelphia Airport really got me thinking about it.

In Chicago, I usually fly into Midway airport. I walk off the plane, through the terminal, and down to the CTA's Orange line, which takes me right into downtown Chicago. There's always a train waiting there, and I've never had to wait very long. The train ride itself costs $2.25, which is certainly more reasonable than a $40 cab ride.

In Philadelphia, let's just say, things don't go nearly as smoothly.

My flight from Midway got in early, and I walked to catch the train into downtown Philadelphia.

I come down the staircase to the outdoor platform (which may be quite nice in July but probably not quite so great in January) and came out to find no train...and no other people.

That usually means the train just left.

Sure enough, I saw the sign that detailed the fact that the train to Philadelphia only arrives every 30 minutes, and that I had just missed one.


Is it so unreasonable to expect mass transit more often than twice an hour from one of the largest cities in the country?

Apparently it is.

To make things even better, the price for a train ride into the city is not Chicago's $2.25, but a hefty $6.00. Of course, that $6.00 price assumes you buy a ticket in advance, which you can't, so it becomes $7.00.

So to recap, that's paying three times as much for a train that is MORE inconvenient.

I was really a little annoyed at how inefficient Philadelphia mass transit is, as I boarded the train today.

I thought about that as the conductor asked me where I was headed, punched me a ticket, and then completely forgot about collecting the fare, even as I was holding money out to him.

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