Since I moved to Vienna, a mystery has haunted me.
I’m riding on the U3 in the direction of Simmering. As I arrive at Stephansplatz, where I will switch to the U1 in the direction of Leopoldau, I observe the following behaviour in certain of my fellow passengers: they run for it.
Initially, I attributed this to the fact that they must simply be the types who are always running for it – always in such a hurry that, to them, it’s worth running for the U1 train just in case one is standing at the platform awaiting some riders to board the carriage.
But then I noticed that, without fail, these runners would make it to the U1 train just as it arrived or was standing with open doors. Somehow, these runners knew that the train was there. And as the train whirred and swooshed into the tunnel and the sign blinked to announce the next wait interval, the runners were smug – a bit sweaty — and en route.
This perplexes me.
I have examined the platform, and I have yet to notice a sign that indicates the time and direction of any U1 trains for passengers disembarking from the U3 trains. I have not figured out any clear visual line of sight that would allow me to see a U1 train on the platform. I have asked others who do not run: how do they know? Nobody has an answer, although some have suggested that the people know the schedule. However, this seems an unsatisfactory answer.
I am a massively efficient commuter. I pre-walk the platform to get myself close to the transfer or exit point. I walk between bus stops to avoid stopping. I like it when I have to run for each transit vehicle on a given commute, because this means I have travelled as quickly as possible and eliminated all platform and Haltstelle waits.
So my question: how do these runners divine the fact that, if they run, they’ll catch the U1? How do these clairvoyant Ubahn riders surpass even the Clydesdale commuter?