A mechanical problem at the Chambers Street station on the 2-3 line in New York delayed my entrance to the office today by almost 20 minutes. I entered and re-entered the station, and eventually walked to the nearest express stop. When I finally did get to my desk, sweating through my shirt at this point, I couldn't stop thinking that today's commute was the worst, ever.
Then I saw this video. I bookmarked it so I can compare it to future incidents like the one earlier today.
The website Beijing Cream uploaded the footage to YouTube. It shows a Beijing Subway station last Thursday during the morning rush at 7:30 a.m. After watching the clip, "rush" might be an understatement.
Viewing the video, it's difficult to imagine a scene even close to this on a "normal" day in Manhattan. At first look, the crowd is massive, and it is hard to believe that this is going to end civilly. Yet, as the doors open on the Line 13 train, people file off normally, as other passengers wait to take a spot in the car.
About seven seconds after the exit begins, the waiting travelers begin to flood into the cars, despite other passengers still attempting to leave the train. A man in a white shirt is forced away from the door after trying to depart. He couldn't even get a foot out the door. Even if he had accomplished that, a scrum breaks out on the platform. Outside an adjacent car, a man is pulling out people who've just gotten on — probably those who've changed their minds, unwilling to travel like packed sardines.
Beijing Cream writes that not all subway stations in Beijing are like this — some are actually worse.
Just when you think you have it bad, you're reminded that someone else has it even worse.