Saturday, October 27, 2012

October 27: New York Subway

On this date in History .... 1904:

New York City opens their subway system, which would quickly grow to be the world’s largest American underground train network and the only system to operate 24/7, carrying an average of 4.5 million people per day. The “Great Blizzard of 1888”, which saw 40-50” of snow and 30-40ft snowdrifts,  helped sell the advantages of an underground system.  The city hired skilled miners to do the work. Only 16 deaths occurred during the 2 year construction, with 10 of those taking place when a roof of one tunnel collapsed in 1903. 

Restrooms are a rarity in today’s subway system.  There are only 129 restrooms spread out over 77 of the 468 stations have restrooms.  However, some of the restrooms were converted to retail space, as shown in the attached photo.  There are approximately 350 retail businesses, selling newspapers and food, in the subway, generating over $70million in rent to the transit authority.
Tokens to ride the subway were changed periodically as prices increased.
In the 1980, the “Token War” began as people discovered the Connecticut Toll Booth tokens, which cost about one-third the cost of subway tokens, could be used in the subway. Connecticut initially agreed to change the size of their tokens but changed their minds.  It remained a problem until 1985, when Connecticut discontinued charging tolls on the turnpike.  The New York subway system had collected over 2 million tokens over a three year period, which had a value of less than 18 cents each.

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