The first subway line opened to riders on October 27, 1904. And almost since that day, New Yorkers have been grumbling, justified or not, about crappy service.
“Trains will run at the company’s convenience” states the fine print in this New York Herald cartoon from 1905.
It wasn’t just lateness that annoyed residents a century ago. Other grievances are the same ones we have today, like jam-packed trains and filthy stations.
“All the trains are dirt-filled and full of nameless odors,” bellyached one passenger in a letter to the New York Times in 1915.
Even dim lighting was open to complaints. ”The lighting of subway trains was now so poor as to be dangerous to the sight of passengers who might attempt to read their newspapers,” states a 1909 Times article.