Kyiv Metropolitan - The Most Punctual Subway in the World

My readers know how passionate I am about different subway systems in the world. I would always prefer riding a train over taking a cab if ...

My readers know how passionate I am about different subway systems in the world. I would always prefer riding a train over taking a cab if time permits, and truly believe that a subway is the best way to grasp a real city. After living in North America for quite some time and visiting a number of big cities across the globe, I'm always fascinated how good the subway system in my home city Kyiv is. And let there be no air conditioning and public washrooms, trains are too short and too crowded at rush hour, the Metropolitan, as it's called, deserves to be named the most punctual subway system in the world.

And it's been like that for 57 years - no matter what the weather or political situation.
When I was dating my wife over a decade ago, I would have to take two subway trains to get home. I knew that the last train on both lines would arrive at the interchange stations Maidan Nezalezhnosti and Khreschatyk exactly at 12:20 am, so I would be staying by the 3rd door in the first car to be the first one to get off the train, jump on the escalator and run as fast as I could to catch the train on the second line. It would take me about 20-30 seconds door to door.
Little did I know that there was the last last train, about 20 minutes after the last one, that would "collect" those who missed their last train. How many of you knew about this?
At rush hour, the gap between trains on Line M1, the busiest one in Kyiv, is 45-60 seconds. And what's amazing is that it's always fluent, no backlogs or delays unless something serious happened.  The drawback though - you can get hit by closing doors once the time is up (each train has about 20-30 seconds for passengers to get on and off, no exceptions). 
Speaking about getting hit. These turnstiles have always scared me to death. I've even developed a habit a long time ago to hold them with my hands while passing through the gate. It's so fast and unpredictable, so I can't imagine how many men lost their reproductive organs to these torture machines (hope none).
So much people rely on the Metropolitan on a daily basis, so it would definitely cause a transport collapse if it suddenly stops working. In fact, that's exactly what happened when a part of Line M2 closed for a few hours due to a fire investigation in September 2017. 
All the maintenance is done between 1 am and 5 am when there are no passengers (hey, Toronto, what do you say about your frequent train suspension on weekends due to maintenance?).
In Soviet Union, a city would be eligible to receive a subway system if it had over 1 million people. Despite huge losses during the WWII, Kyiv was still over 1 million, and therefore got the subway back in 1960.
Most stations in Central Kyiv are deep underground. 
"Arsenalna" is the deepest station in the world -105.5 m / 346 ft below surface! In operation since 1960 (the first picture of "Arsenalna" below is from Wikipedia).
Not only do most of the stations look like a masterpiece or a museum, but also the subway was and still is a bomb shelter in case of a nuclear war. The station below is called "Universytet", in operation since 1960.
The Metropolitan keeps tons of non-perishable food and water supplies that people can survive on for weeks. It also has thousands of gas masks like the ones below.  
"Zoloti Vorota" (meaning "Golden Gates") is one of the most beautiful stations in Europe according to the Daily Telegraph in the UK. And it's my favourite one, too.
The station resembles an ancient church in Kyivan Rus circa 1000s when Yaroslav the Wise was in power. 
It was still a risky design considering the station was built in 1989. However since the Soviet Union was already ripping at the seams, this was made possible.  
"Zoloti Vorota" features 80 distinct mosaic pieces and images depicting the history of Kyivan Rus. In 2011, the station's mosaics were listed as "newly discovered objects of cultural heritage" by the city's Department of Cultural Heritage (Wikipedia). On the pictures below - the founders of Kyiv: Kyi, Lybid, Schek and Khoryv.
Kyiv Metropolitan has 52 stations on three lines and at least one third of them is worth visiting. Especially the central ones on Line M1 and stations built from late 1980s till now. Some of my favourites not mentioned above are "Minska", "Dnipro" and "Slavutych".
You will often find an excessive use of granite and marble, and most recently - mosaic, glass and lamps of various colours and shapes.
Nice new addition on "Klovska" station.
Stations are normally spacious. Despite the fact that there are no garbage bins on stations at all, Kyiv Metropolitan is exceptionally nice and clean. 
Definitely spend some time in the Metropolitan while in Kyiv. It's one of the biggest attractions believe it or not.

My other posts about subway systems:

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