Prague announces bizarre plan for singles-only subway cars

May 21, 2013

When I switched from biking to work to riding the subway, one cost of my laziness was a loss of privacy during the daily commute. Personal space can get scarce on the train and, though most fellow riders are polite, some are not. Though as a male I've been spared the come-ons and gropes some female commuters face, I've heard enough stories to know that the subway, for all its significant benefits and efficiencies, has its drawbacks.

The Prague metro company, apparently hoping to boost service on its trains, has announced a plan that seems bound to exacerbate those drawbacks. According to Reuters (hat tip to Grist), the Czech Republic capital city will designate subway cars on some or all of its trains as singles-only. It could be up and running by the end of the year.

It's not clear precisely what single people are supposed to do on these metro cars, but Reuters calls them "love trains" and says they are intended to serve "singles seeking a soul mate." Stepping onto the singles' car sounds like a great way to attract unwanted advances and a generally less-than-peaceful commute.

The idea is a noble one: to get drivers out of their cars and into the subway, thus reducing traffic and pollution. A spokesman for the Prague metro company told Reuters, "We want to emphasize that public transport is not only a means of travel but that you can do things there that you cannot do in your car."

I'm speculating here, but it's possible that Prague is aiming the service at tourists rather than locals. Tourism is an enormous and growing business in the city, which is considered particularly attractive to young backpackers and partiers from elsewhere in Europe. Maybe they would be interested in a singles-only subway ride?

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Max Fisher · May 21, 2013