The difference between Paris and Chicago transit systems
Regular Tattler contributor cmama posted the following as a comment, but it deserves notice as a post on its own. Thanks for sharing, cmama!
I'm back from France. I did a little tour of Paris and used their transit system. It's so much more efficient, on time, cleaner and down right the best.
Every subway stop was lighted. Trains ran on time. Some stops had expected time of arrivals posted on a monitor. The rides were smooth. A one way ride was less than a one way ride here. The train stations themselves were not smelly, the people were just smelly (sorry if anyone here is French. If you've ever been there, you know what I mean).
As a whole, I think there were more crazies there that ride their trains than here. I was there for 3 days and saw way more crazies within that time than in Chicago. The thing that I loved was if you stood in the doorway, you got pushed without any warning or cursing. I think this is mostly due to the fact their train doors will close and cut off your arm if you try to hold it. There's no such thing as holding the door open for somebody running down/up the stairs. This is also probably why their trains run on time.
Also, they only have one conductor per train. They have a little monitor outside each station to watch so the conductor never has to get out of their seat to look out the window to see if the doors are clear. I don't think I ever saw a piece of trash on the train or on the platform even though they have vending machines on every platform. Their trains are just as long as the station platform so trains never overshoot the platform and there was never a sudden jerk to stop.
My only warning if you travel to Paris and ride their transit system, it shuts down at 1 am on the dot no matter where the train is on the route. We didn't know that and were transferring to our train to get to our hotel.
We were waiting in the station and kept hearing an announcement in French (it didn't help that neither of us knew french). We saw the station was clear and our train whizzed by us. We ran up the stairs and ran through the station -- which was bigger than O'Hare's Terminal 1. (It happened to be where 5 different trains cross and was kind of a center point for a few train stops). We finally run under the gates that were closing down that leads us to the exit.
We searched three sides of the building to find a door they hadn't locked to get outside. Nobody swept the station before closing and we nearly peed our pants trying to get out. When we did get out we had no idea where the hell we were and finally found a cab after walking 3 blocks. The next night, we just took a cab home and skipped the transit system all together.
The number of crazies on their trains outnumbered Chicago, but the craziest things those people do are far inferior to Chicago crazies.