Today I came across an article on the Calgary Rants blog; the author had taken a trip to the Big Apple and was dazzled by the city's sophisticated underground transit system which prompted him to compare the subway network with that of of Calgary's C-Train system. He seemed to be critical of this city's conveyance structure by examining in contrast the networks of the two cities.
There is no doubt that New York's subway system is one of the best in the world, but to match-up the MTA with the C-Train is like comparing apples and oranges (in this case, comparing the big apple with a little kiwi fruit). The authors also raves on about how vastly more efficient the subway is compared to our little street cars and how they can accommodate thousands of passengers more (again...DUUH).
Now, granted that Calgary's transit system is not fulfilling the current needs of the population and it goes without saying that it needs revitalization and a make-over. But to say that NYC's transit is ideal would be an exaltation it does not deserve.
As a former New Yorker, I can say this with certainty; it is NOT as safe as some people think it is. The drug problems are still there - even after Giuliani tried to clean it up - the riders are extremely rude, and the fares go up whenever city hall feels like it. In fact, there was a feature report in one of New York's publication a few years ago describing the fragility of the subway system. The entire network is plagued by constant threats of floods and fires and built on technology that predates the automobile.
To many, the grass seems much greener on that side of the fence, but the allure fades away when one has to deal with impaired coordination of the MTA, (not to mention the unprofessional attitude of the subway police).
In contrast, the C-Train, with all it's flaws and imperfections, has the potential to be exceptional. Perhaps, new tacks around the Sarcee ring road and an extension further down south with more express buses can make transit more desirable for people who don't use the system currently, but would like to once they know how convenient and enjoyable their trips can be.