Friday 18 August 2017

Londoners are baffled that this New York Times journalist described the Tube as a 'wonderland'

By Prudence Wade

Not a word that’s ever been used in the same sentence as the District line.

When the New York Times sent transit reporter Emma Fitzsimmons to London to report on the Underground, it seems she had a different experience from your average commuter.

The first unexpected thing is probably the article’s headline: “New York City transit reporter in wonderland: Riding the London Tube”. Umm … what’s that now? Was the Tube just described as a “wonderland”?

As anyone who’s ever been on the Central line during rush hour (or the Piccadilly line at any time at all) knows, things are pretty far from peachy. Crowds, delays and weird smells are par for the course.

Well, according to Fitzsimmons, the Tube is indeed a magical place in comparison to the New York subway. She says subway riders complain of “overcrowding, constant delays, filthy stations and poor communication when problems arise”. However, apparently commuters on the Victoria line “used adjectives like ‘amazing’ and ‘efficient’ to describe service”.

It’s very brave of Fitzsimmons to actually approach people on the Tube, let alone get positive words out of them.

While Fitzsimmons does accept that Tube passengers have some complaints about the service (including strikes and steep prices), she presents it as the near-perfect equivalent to the unreliable subway.

In fact, she says “there is a sense that Transport for London, the agency that runs the Tube, understands the problems and is working hard to fix them”. However, not all Londoners are quite ready to agree with her glowing review of the Tube.

Some chose slightly different words to describe the service.

However, not everyone is so quick to slam the Tube – some people actually agree with Fitzsimmons. Well, mostly.

But remember, this is London we’re talking about, so obviously people will be complaining about something.

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