I took the Metra (the train, for those of you non-Chicagoans) last night for the first time, and the L (the “elevated” subway) for about the millionth time. Here’s what I found.
Reasons why the Metra is better than the L:
-Seats are more comfortable
-Fewer questionable/sketchy people
-There are two levels! Like a double-decker train.
Reasons why the L is better than the Metra:
-Metra: $3.40. L: $1.75.
-You don’t need to keep a copy of the L schedule with you. It just runs all the time. You don’t have to wait half an hour for the next train.
-The L is much more colorful
-It’s $1.75 no matter how far you go. On the Metra, you have to pay more if you travel farther.
-There are very specific locations where you catch the Metra. The L is everywhere. I mean everywhere.
-When you’re taking the L, and you pay your $1.75, you know that you’re going to need that money to get through the turnstyle. No guessing or risk involved. On the Metra, you might pay your $3.40 for a ticket, and it might happen that no one checks it.
-On the Metra, when a stop is approaching, the train plays two notes and then announces the next stop. Those two notes, however, sound exactly like the first two notes of Auld Lang Syne. But the song doesn’t continue. I’ve been hearing that song a lot–it’s Christmastime, you know–and it was just a little unsatisfying.
-The Metra announces the next stop, but then when the train stops, it doesn’t remind you where you are. I’m assuming that this is because the kind of people who ride the Metra have better memories than L people. On the L, it’s just so great to hear “Clark and Division is next. Doors open on the right at Clark and Division….This is Clark and Division.”
-I heard someone say that they like to tell people that if they don’t get off at Chicago, they’ll miss the city.
-And last, but not least: I am in love with the L announcer. I dream about his voice and announcements. “This is Chicago. Doors open on the right at Chicago. Priority seating is intended for passengers with disabilities. Beep beep beep: we are being delayed, waiting for signals ahead. We expect to be moving shortly.”