Just for the record – quite possibly today morning we witnessed the last gasp of winter in Warsaw. After several days of spring-like weather, last night brought frost and light dusting of snow. Skies cleared up around 8 a.m. and all the snow disappeared by midday. Next week temperature is foreseen to shoot up to nearly +20C. Roll on spring!
Again, a belated post, partly compiled almost two weeks ago, shortly after the opening of the second underground line, slightly updated and extended today.
Making it ot the anything but grand opening of the second underground line two weeks ago was out of question, so I tried it out the next day, on Monday morning. I was not the only one to document (photos by Szajsung) the first ride – see a much broader coverage by Michael (the fellow blogger visited all stations east of Świętokrzyska).
To the right – one of passages between the first and the second line on Świętokrzyska station. When first using this link, I was unaware of the existence of another far more convenient passage between the lines, which is faster, does not require passengers to go through ticket gates and on top is well-hidden. Despite this one flaw, I have to admit generally the signage is up to the mark in the stations of second underground line.
I took a train to the western end of the line, to Rondo Daszyńskiego station. This formerly industrial part of Warsaw is rapidly turning into a business district with hundreds thousands square metres of office space in use and under construction. The underground trains will definitely facilitate transport for thousand of corpo-workers having to get here and from here, making it much friendlier location to work than ghastly Służewiec Przemysłowy. I took the snap just from the entrance to the station, however to properly depict the modern office-districts landscape, I should have taken the photo from the south-eastern corner of Rondo Daszyńskiego.
The east-bound carriages running in the morning from Rondo Daszyńskiego were nearly empty. It does not imply that second underground line runs idle. According to recently published statistics its trains carry on average 106,701 passengers per day (vs. roughly half a million taking the first, much longer line). Besides, it takes time before passengers change their habits and get convinced to the fastest possible way of moving around town.
As pointed up by many, on the first working day most escalators on newly opened Rondo ONZ station were broken down. True, this was a nuisance, however technical crews swiftly mended the machinery and during the subsequent two weeks I did not notice a single technical defect. When it comes to technicalities, I also noticed many passengers encountered problems handling new glass-made ticket gates (seemingly so simple to use). Fortunately, the transport authority envisaged such situations and sent several assistants to help passengers find their way in newly opened facilities. I only wonder how long before the more complicated gates begin to pack up since their technical complexity and thus potential for defects is much higher than in old gates on first line stations.
To the right – view towards the station entrance to the station, photo taken in the vicinity of Rondo ONZ. For many corpo-workers keeping late hours in Rondo 1 and other nearby office buildings the underground trains should mean commuting improvement. From my perspective, the time saved thanks to it is less than five minutes. Compared to the previous route, i.e. taking a tram between Metro Pole Mokotowskie and Rondo ONZ (six stops), riding the underground does not requite waiting on the traffic light to cross two streets on Rondo ONZ, moreover the underground is not halted by traffic lights on intersections along the way. Having to swing east and change trains, rather than moving slower, but straight ahead, takes the gloss of smoother rides by underground. I will defnitely appreciate the underground during inclement or extreme weather. Taking a shelter will be preferable to being exposed to over +25C heat, less than -10C chill, downpours or heavy snow.
Now looking forward to opening the rebuilt park and ride facility near Metro Stokłosy. The huge car park for almost 400 cars, 100 bikes and bus terminus have been finished a few weeks ago and since then have been waiting for better days, fenced off from hundreds of potential users. In early February I ventured there to see the development had been completed and asked a security guard whether he knew the opening date. He only shrugged his shoulders and shared my discontent with the fact no one can use the new car park. From what I heard on the radio last week, the general contractor is to put all finishing touches and fix minor glitches by the end of March and then technical inspections are to set about. Feasible opening date – second week of April (the one after Easter.)