Prague Subway

The Czech’s are understandably proud of how completely they have erased all signs of 50 years of Soviet rule, the Russian influence is tough to spot anywhere… until you go underground in Prague.
Prague toyed with creating a subway system as far back as 1898, they considered the plan off and on over the years and even started construction a couple times but never seemed to get anywhere. Enter the USSR, the Soviets took over after WWII, installing the same style of hardline rule as elsewhere but also making the same investments in infrastructure as in other occupied states, the subway system was built in less than five years. running train stock from Moscow that is still in use today (with new Czech motors but otherwise still Russian).

As is the norm with Soviet metro design the stations are far underground to double as bomb shelters when America invades. My station, Maru, is nearly as deep as the Moscow stations and features the longest escalator in the EU, taking almost 3 minutes to ride. And no one walks it Nahanni, they all just relax and enjoy.

My thoughts after riding the subway here for the past 5 days are that it is an amazing system, the best I have ever used really. Maybe that isn’t fair when it isn’t a gigantic city like New York or London but the stations are clean the trains are clean, nearly silent and full sized, the signage is amazing, the fares are intelligent (smartphone app to buy tickets that are sent to you by sms) the whole thing was really pleasurable to use. The city has about the same population as Vancouver but 5x the daily ridership.

Take the sign below, these hang in each station above the platform. The sign is green because you are on the “A – Line Green”, the white on green shows all the stations in the line, the black on white is the station you are at, if you need to go to a station to the left of your current one then you know you need to take track 1 to the left, same thing to the right for track 1, you can see which stations meet up with the “B – Line Yellow” and “C – Line Orange” as well as which stations are wheelchair accessible and which stations meet up with other services such as airports or rail. The design is amazing, it’s often said that good design is hard to spot, it took me a while to notice how helpful this simple style of sign is. Each station also has a Countdown timer to the arrival of the next train, it’s the little things!

And that’s just the subway, the rest of the system is great too, the busses and the supercool trams, there are about 4 generations of trams running on the same šŸšŠ lines, from brand new futuristic gigantic ones that look like the droid army transports from The Phantom Menace right back to the first model the Russians brought in, which are really cool looking.

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