How To Love Public Transport
Delays, crowded rush hours, sweaty joggers, peeing junkies and thrown up alcoholics. Public transportation can sometimes be a real pain. Moving through crowded platforms, trying to get your connection and always on the look out for pickpocketers, there seems to be only downsides to this form of getting around.
However over the years I found that there is a certain vibe to public transport. It can offer you something other modes of transportation cannot. I learned to deal with the downsides and started loving it! Here’s how I did it:
1. It’s an experience! – Every city is different and its distinctions can be found in public transportation. You will almost never see junks in South East Asian trains whereas you will almost never see no kissing signs in European ones. The efficiency of the public transport system usually reflects the local lifestyle. Malaysian busses are always late while the London tube is just as efficient as the city, the same applying for the Singapore MRT. The Rotterdam Metro is straightforward, as are it’s people and don’t even get me started on the Indian trains…
You won’t get this with a taxi! The Disney Line is probably the best part about Disney World Hong Kong.
2. It’s the local way – If you want to find out where the locals go and how they travel in their day-to-day life, public transport is the key. No local will take a taxi to work every day and not everyone owns a car. If the local language is known to you, you can even find out what the daily thoughts of the people are as the conversations in public transportation are usually pretty loud. But don’t eavesdrop!
3. See the city – There ain’t no place to get to know a place better than in public transportation. Buses take you through narrow streets, subways and metros take you over the city. They go from business districts to the suburbs, if you really want to see a city, hop on a train. For example taking the Kuala Lumpur monorail will take you past Chinatown, through the busy malls of Times Square and straight to the parks of Titiwangsa. This form of travel is also a good way to get involved in some of the local uniqueness. Who can say they have ever been in an Austrian tram or a Philippine jeepney?
3. Find new places – Aside from the tourist information and maps on stations, you can learn about a city by it’s stops. Hop off that funny sounding train stop and you are guaranteed to experience something new! Just be careful you don’t end up in the ghetto or weird looking industrial areas – hop off where a lot of other passengers alight. Names of stations help as well, I remembered reading a blog on Orchard Road, a street in Singapore (also the name of the station) where I alighted because I associated with it.
Names of stations can help you find great places in cities!
4. You can’t get lost – When you are wandering around by foot, pronounced your destination wrong to the cab driver or are looking to get back to your hotel, it is easy to get lost. But not with public transportation as they offer landmarks. It is easy to get to a certain station or stop if the information provided is sufficient. In cities I always travel like this, I don’t use maps, I just walk around and when I want to go to a certain place I find the nearest bus/train stop. You can always find your way back!