Look closely to see if you can tell whether this crowded, frenzied subway station is Beijing’s Xi’erqi interchange or Toronto’s Yonge-Bloor transfer at rush hour. The video has been making the rounds online today with headlines like “As Bad As Your Commute May Be…” and “This Staggering Video of Chinese Subway Crowding…” but anyone who’s braved the Yonge-Bloor platform at 8:00 am on a Monday won’t be fazed by it.
Of course, I’m exaggerating. Even the TTC’s busiest station isn’t this bad. Beijing’s Line 13, which serves the city’s northern suburbs, sees about 946,000 daily riders compared to around 735,000 on the Yonge-University-Spadina line. Plus there’s far less pushing in Toronto and we don’t need yellow-shirted staff to pack us in like carry-on into a WestJet overhead compartment. Certainly nobody exits the train only to get swallowed up by the crowd and pulled back in. But you have to wonder how the footage from Beijing would compare to Yonge-Bloor if we could get a shot from a similar vantage point.
Maybe if that subway to Scarborough ever gets built we can get on China’s level crowding-wise.