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Copenhagen Metro

I tried out Copenhagen's new metro today, although one of the coolest things about it is its web address, simply www.m.dk. It actually opened on Saturday, and Nina and I bought tickets and went along, but it just turned out to be a farce. It was badly organised, too many tickets had been sold, and crowds of people were pushing to get in while event security managers (i.e. fat bouncers) held them back. In the end we left the crazed crowd and walked away, giving up on the promise of free coffee and croissants inside.

So today, I returned, determined to see a train. The new underground stations have been designed to be bright and open, and rather than entering from the usual rabbit style hole, the entrance is down escalators through a wide vertical shaft. The stations themselves are very small (60mx20m), with little space to walk around, and with escalators cluttering the platform it can get quite cramped with people waiting. As is often the case in Denmark, it looks good, and more thought seems to have gone into attractive design rather than efficiency. On the platform they had someone shouting at people and organising them into rows like schoolchildren so that passengers were able to get off the incoming trains, and a big bouncer was there to deal with you if you didn't listen. The trip through the clean, new concrete tunnels is terrific though, as the trains are driverless with large windows fore and aft, and it feels more like you're travelling through the Death Star than Copenhagen. It's a shame though, that the chance to put in a smooth, efficient system has been missed, especially compared to metro and monorail systems in Asia, where lines are painted on the floor where you have to queue, and to seperate people entering and exiting, and the stations are long open spaces without obstacles. Most people in Denmark don't understand the 'please stand on the right rule' on escalators, and there are no stairs to run up if you're really in a hurry to get out of the station, so the only way is to take the lift or stand behind people sleeping on slow escalators (1min 5sec to climb 18m). Unfortunately, as is so often the case with these things, no-one asked me for my opinion when they were designing it.

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