Ah, there’s something so deliciously refreshing about a good transport-related complaining session. Pretty much every Londoner loves to spend a pleasurable hour or two grumbling about TfL services: the inevitable strikes, the sweat-inducing overcrowding, the ever-rising ticket prices, and the inspirational quotes on whiteboards saccharine enough to make you spit out your coffee in disgust. But don’t for a single second think that they actually mean it. Because, according to Time Out’s new survey, a frankly astonishing 91 percent of Londoners are happy with their city’s public transport options.
Time Out asked 20,000 city-dwellers from around the world whether they thought it was easy to get around their city by public transport, and more than nine out of ten Londoners said it was. It’s easy to see why: our city’s Underground, bus, tube, train and tram options mean that you can get pretty much anywhere in London without ever needing a car. Maps and apps make services extra easy to use. And the branding is pretty iconic, with Londoners willingly giving house room to tube-roundel mugs or moquette-patterned sofas.
Still, that doesn’t mean that London’s transport bosses should get complacent. Berlin bagged the top spot, with 98 percent of locals waxing lyrical about the city’s chic, comfortable, and oh-so-easy-to-use public transport options. Other cities that beat London in terms of approval ratings include Prague, Tokyo, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taipei, Shanghai and Amsterdam, all of which are known for their hyper-efficient transport networks with rather fewer mice than you typically get on the tube.
Lower down the list, cities that could do better on the public transport front included New York, which landed an 85 percent approval rating for its notorious subway system. Look, fair play to them, the NY subway is the biggest underground transport network in the world if you go by the number of stations. But it’s also perpetually late, chronically underfunded, and so dark and dingy that it makes Gotham City look like a soft-play centre.
So, if you’d like more material for your next energising public transport-related whinging sesh, consider relocating to the Big Apple. Or simply attempt to squeeze your foldable bike on to the Central line during rush hour and feel the frustration come surging back. Ah, that’s better…