Getting around Town


In big cities traffic is one of the main problems that people experience when they try to get to their destinations. Traffic jams and bottlenecks are terrible hassles, especially at rush hour. For the commuter traffic jams can become a nightmare since many commuters drive for hours to get to work. To avoid traffic jams and other hassles, the transportation systems in big cities are the best way to move around a big town. Cities like London, Mexico City, Moscow and New York rely on subway systems, often called the Subway, Metro, or Underground. These systems are affordable and usually reliable.

New York like many big cities in the world has its own subway and elevated train system. These fast trains are electrically operated and consist of one engine and nine cars that are pulled by the engine. In New York, getting around is easy. You just have to buy a card called a Metro Card. This card allows you to ride on the trains and make transfers to buses or other trains without being charge an extra fare.

When you go to the booth or the vending machine to get your card, you have different choices. There are cards for every need and price. You can get a single ride card, a card good for multiple rides at slightly discount per ride, or an unlimited ride card. The unlimited ride card will allow you to travel as many times as you want within a giving time period, but you must wait for fifteen minutes between uses at the same station. So, unlimited cards cannot be used to pay fares for more than one person when people are traveling together. Unlimited ride cards are available for one day, seven-day, fourteen days, and thirty-day time periods. In New York City tokens are no longer used in the subway

Once you buy your card at the booth you have to swipe it through the card reader, so that the turnstile will be unlocked and let you in, otherwise you will not be able to get on the train. After you enter the train, the conductor will talk through the loudspeaker and may ask people to release the doors or to stand clear of the closing doors. The conductor will also announce each station, so you need to be alert and pay attention to the announcements so as not to miss your stop.

Vocabulary and Expressions

Rush hour = the hours in which people travel or use a service the most.
Commuters = people who do not live and work in the same place.
To relay on = to trust; to have confidence in.
Reliable = something trustable that does not let you down easily.
Electrically-operated = device or machine operated with electricity.
To make transfers = to transfer from one means of transport to another.
To get a bus ride = to travel by bus where you need to go.
To be charged = to pay for the services which you have been given or you have used
Booth = place where clerks help you buy your card; in a bank the place where the clerks are.
Choices = to have variety to select from.
Monthly = adverb of time, something you do every month, on a monthly basis.
Tokens = kind of perforated coins used to activate the turnstiles.
To swipe through = the action of passing a card through a reader.
Car reader = electronic device designed to read the electronic information on a card.
Turnstile = device use in the subway station or on the bus to block or allow the access of people which is operated with a card or tokens.
Otherwise = on the contrary.
Conductor = train master; person in charge of the train.
Loudspeakers = devices designed to deliver sound.
Release = to let something free when you are holding it.
To stand clear of the closing doors = to clear the area by the doors inside the subway.

Conversation Activities

1. Tell us about the transportation system in your country or hometown.
2. Are trains very reliable in your country?
3. Does the subway or elevated train in your country or hometown work in the same way as NYC with cards that give you free transfers?
4. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the subway system?
5. Do you think there is a better way to move around town?
6. What kind of transportation to you think we will have in the future?