Beijing Subway Better Than Metro?

One columnist says yes

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    BEIJING, CHINA-AUGUST 7: Commuters crowd a subway station at rush hour on August 7, 2008 in Beijing, China.

    Anyone who takes a Metro train on a semi-regular basis doesn't need a reminder that station escalators break down at an alarming rate.

    But the Washington Examiner gave us one, anyway.

    According to the paper, "one out of every five Metro escalators was out of service Wednesday, leaving riders hiking up and down what should have been moving staircases as temperatures soared into the mid-90s."

    Sigh.

    Some of us have resigned ourselves to the fact that we're going to have to hoof it up and down throughout our Metro journeys, and we've even turned it into a game, counting the number of broken escalators compared to the number of working ones along the way.

    It makes the trips so much more enjoyable, especially since we have all that extra time waiting on the platform for the next single-tracked train to arrive.

    And hey, it's gotta be better than riding the subway system in, say ... China, right?

    Wrong, says a correspondent for China Daily, who says she longs for the days when she can return to the comfort of the Beijing public transit network.

    Columnist Li Xing admits that Beijing's subway system has its disadvantages -- namely severe overcrowding that makes some riders feel like they "lose their dignity" when they pile on during rush hour. 

    But her experiences of taking the Metro during off-peak times -- and the inevitable long wait for the next train on a crowded, sweltering platform -- is making her think twice about which subway system is better.

    "... after living in Washington for a month, I'm almost homesick for the Beijing subway," she wrote.

    A bold statement, no doubt. 

    But now, after reading her column, we'll think of her words the next time we're annoyed and sweaty while waiting on the platform for a weekend train that seems like it will never, ever show up...