The last time I rode the NYC subway system was probably back in the late 80s. Back then it was a sweaty, stinky, scary place - one that you didn't want to find yourself on late at night.
So, consider my surprise when, over our vacation last week in Manhattan, I totally fell head over heels in love with the subway system. Our hotel was equidistant between two subway stops on the green line (33rd and Grand Central Station), so getting anywhere only required that we walk about 5 blocks. As long as you know which train you need, you really don't need much in the way of a schedule since they come so frequently.
Transferring from one subway line to another is relatively easy, albeit somewhat confusing at some stations. I would imagine it's easy to get lost on occasion since some stations have multiple levels and the signs can be a tad confusing, but for even us idiots who have no idea where we were going, we managed just fine, without any problems.
Some of the announcements can be unclear, but the information about where you are while on the train is really clear - some trains have illuminated maps that tell you exactly where you are on the line and most have reader boards telling you what the next stop is. Far more handy than the bus.
All the trains are air conditioned these days and, if I must admit, they are over air-conditioned. Granted, standing on the platform while waiting for the train may feel like a short stay in Hades, but getting on the train more than makes up for it.
Finally, we always felt extremely safe, even riding the trains after midnight. I got so used to taking the subway that I lamented having to use my car the day after we returned from New York. For those of you interested in how the MTA is looking at mass transit and energy consumption, you can check out their sustainability pages.
Does your area have a rapid transit system similar to New York? If your area did, would you use it?