Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Metro vs MRT

        What I noticed about Madrid that probably no one else did is that the Metro is way behind the current technology elsewhere.  I came to Madrid from Taipei, where they have a state-of-the-art system of scanning RFID cards and a better layout overall.  While the Madrid Metro is nice and I wouldn’t blame anyone for saying so if they did not know better, I know that it could definitely be improved.

        The Taipei MRT got several more seats into each car with some rearrangement, and it also had many handles hanging down in between those seats for standing passengers between the long rows.  My engineering mind is always calculating the shortfalls when I ride in a train.  The Madrid Metro has a bar that makes you reach your arm up uncomfortably high, resulting in painful long trips.  It is also missing enough handles to even hold between the seats, which makes people fall if it’s too busy.  This never happened to me on the MRT in Taipei, and it’s interesting that the cultural switch I experienced allowed me to notice these things.

        Also, I have heard that the capability for RFID scanning is being developed for Madrid, but one of the cultural things I’ve noticed is that Spain is slow on the uptake for many things.  Maybe that has something to do with the two hour lunches and siestas that are common everyday, and I have a feeling that has an effect on their economic situation right now, too, though I can’t be sure.

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