End of the geek affair? I think not
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Worse than London and New York?

Another one of those surveys that seem to work wonders in getting free publicity.

It was in Friday's Independent London's public transport is world's best (no, really) and Sunday's SCMP London ranked above HK in transport poll as well.

A survey that voted London as having the best public transport system in the world has been greeted with disbelief in Hong Kong - which ranked fifth.

A survey carried out by Web travel site T********** of more than 2,000 travellers around the world found that people outside Britain believed London had the best taxis and the best public transport system in the world, despite the fact that the London Underground had two days of strikes earlier this summer and suffers regular delays.

New York came in at second place, followed by Paris, Washington and Hong Kong. Los Angeles was voted as having the worst public transport.

Travel Industry Council executive director Joseph Tung Yao-chung said he was shocked Hong Kong had "only ranked fifth".

I can't find any explanation as to how the results were calculated (and 2,000 people is not a very large sample size).  Was it simply that more people voted for London or New York than for Hong Kong, or is this based on a comparison of scores given by people who had visited combinations of cities?   I might think that New York has a better public transport system than Athens, but actually I'm not qualified to judge.

Even for two cities I know well (London and Hong Kong) there is no objective way to measure which is best.  London certainly has a more extensive network of underground and overground railways, but in HK the population is more concentrated in certain areas, most of which have very good MTR or KCR services. 

Ten years ago there were several of the "new towns" with no rail connection, but since then we have had the Tung Chung line (Tung Chung & Tsing Yi), West Rail (Tuen Mun & Yuen Long), the Tsuen Kwan O line and Ma On Shan Rail.  Oh, and the Airport Express.  Oh, and the Disney Resort Line.  Oh, and the KCR East Rail extensions (to Tsim Sha Tsui & Lok Ma Chau) Yes there are a few places left, such as the west/south side of HK Island, parts of Kowloon around Kai Tak, and (I suppose) Sai Kung, but not that many (at least in population terms).

In the same period of time, London has had the Jubilee Line Extension, the Heathrow Express and Tramlink.  Did I miss anything?  OK, let's be fair - two long delayed projects do now seem to be planned - Gordon Brown finally gave the go-ahead for Crossrail last week (so it might be finished by 2018) and Thameslink 2000 has also recently been approved (a bit late, as the project name tells you). 

Which is marvellous, of course, but most of the rail system in London is still old and overcrowded, and I don't think that anyone would seriously argue that services on the London Underground are better than the MTR or that the overground rail services in London are better than the KCR.  

Also, London was judged to be the most expensive, and there's no doubt that Hong Kong has a huge advantage there (though an off-peak Travelcard in London is pretty good value for money).


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If they mainly interviewed business types, who tend to travel more by taxi than by MTR, and on expense accounts, then the survey results make sense. Taxi drivers in London have an unparalleled knowledge of what they are paid to do, i.e. get from A to B as quickly as possible. In common with other professional drivers in the UK, they also comprise the safest group on the road. In HK, sadly, the opposite applies - and lorry drivers, minibus drivers, triad van drivers and taxi drivers are the worst drivers. Always excepting motorcyclists, of course.


I can't comment on New York, Paris or Washington but how can London top Hong Kong for cleanliness and reliability??


What? London ranked top?

I can only speak with my experience about the underground system in
London, HK, New York, Washington and Paris...my vote among them would have been:
1. Hong Kong
2. New York
3. Paris
4. Washington
5. London

Let's not talk about the extensiveness of the network, it's relative, and you can't really judge objectively without factoring the population and where the populated areas are. London underground is, allow me to say, almost a national disgrace; horribly unreliable, horrendously expensive (if you dont pay with oyster card, i.e you are likely a tourist), overcrowded, extremely smelly, disgusting and dirty. Yuck of yuck is an understatement.

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