Pros and Cons of Subway Transportation

The subway is paid for on a per-ride and monthly basis.
The subway is paid for on a per-ride and monthly basis. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

In many cities around the world, subways are the primary form of transportation. They have been around since the beginning of the 19th century and their use has spread to almost all major metropolitan areas in the United States. When weighing the pros and cons of using the subway, determine where you'll use it and what alternative modes of transportation are available.


Riding a subway requires little maintenance from the subway user. Aside from buying tickets and renewing riding plans, subway systems are maintained by the subway operator, which is usually the city government. Anyone who owns a car knows the importance and cost involved with cleaning it, routine maintenance and fixing broken parts. When you ride the subway, these services are included with the price of a ticket.


Different metropolitan areas have various sized metro systems. Large cities such as New York have extensive subway systems that extend to most parts of the city. If you live in a less densely populated area, a subway system is less likely to provide access to all parts of the city grid. When comparing the convenience of using the subway versus other forms of transportation, think about how close a subway station is to where you live, where you work and where you frequently go in your free time. Decide if the cost savings of using the subway is worth the time required to reach your destinations.


Not all subway systems run 24 hours a day. If you work during the night and plan on using the subway to get to work, verify that the subway runs during the hours you need. As a general rule, subways run more often during high-traffic hours and less often during low-traffic times like late night or before 7 a.m.


Since subways are operated by third parties, using this form of transport may cause delays that are inconvenient for you. Subways require regular maintenance, and construction can cause delays on routes you use with little notice. Other factors such as city budget cuts or labor disagreements can cause an interruption in service. For example, the New York City Metro Transit Authority employees went on strike in 2005. As a result, the subway didn't operate during that time.

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