By and large, most subway trips aren’t fraught with choices. If I want to get from, say, the northern end of Park Slope to the western edge of Washington Square Park, I take a 20-minute ride on the B train, and I don’t have to think about it. But what happens when two trains leave the same station bound for the same stop but take two different routes? How do we pick which one to take?
In the Internet age, apparently the answer is to ask Quora as one Brooklynite has done. The subway-related question is a simple one: “If an uptown F and A train depart Jay St./Borough Hall at the same time, which one will get to West 4th first?” Generally, the two trains seem to take the same amount of time to traverse the stops in between, and if anything, the F will arrive a minute or so sooner. But then other considerations take over. While neither train has seats, the A at West 4th St. is two flights closer to street level than the F.
Admittedly, these conflicts of timing are rare, but they always pose a dilemma. Is it faster to take the 4 from Brooklyn to Yankee Stadium or the D train? Should I take the F to Forest Hills or the E? And of course, if you leave from points in Midtown bound for JFK, neither the E nor the A is faster than the other. Choices, choices, choices.