Category Archives: public transportation

Bullet Train in Japan

Bullet Train in Japan

Technology and beauty in transportation can be all had in Japan. Yes folks I am talking about the Shinkansen network of bullet trains in Japan. The network serves Japan’s main islands Honshu and Kyushu connecting Tokyo with all major cities.

The trains run at the bullet speed of 320km/hr and known for to the second punctuality. The coaches are comfortable and efficient. Especially made for tourists is the Japan Rail pass which makes travelling by these fast trains very economic for the touring people.

When I came here I could gather some real up close information about the train network, which a traveler should know. Hence I will share these details.

Classes – Most of the trains offer two classes in two separate cars/coaches. There is the regular or ordinary class with 3X2 seating arrangement with enough foot space. Then there is the green car which is the luxurious ones with 2X2 seating arrangement with lots of foot space. You can choose either depending on your budget. There is also another new introduction on the new trains known as Gran class with 2X1 seating and other amenities. The Gran class is comparable to first class in Airplanes so be ready to shell out bucks for these seats.

The tickets can be booked online, through vending machines or at the counters at stations. Wash rooms and toilets facility in these trains is really incomparable. Believe me they are better than any other transport network I have travelled on. So get set and make sure you travel by these modern marvels which showcases the technology and hospitality of Japan.

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Cycling- for pleasure, for work

Many European countries have started to think that cycling is the best way to get around to places. Public transport is quite good, but it still uses quite a bit of fuel- or at least that is what people have been thinking in Europe, I’m going to presume. After all, why else would they want to motivate so many people into cycling to work and to school?

Cycling in Europe

Well, for one, cycling is an incredibly safe way of travelling. There is zero carbon emissions, zero pollution and it does a pretty good job of helping people stay active and healthy. Cycles can be pretty inexpensive to make as well (as long as you are not trying to buy a super expensive carbon bike, but come on, there is no way you are going to be able to get around the city on a cycle like that). There are almost no drawbacks to promoting the use of cycles in countries– it does not even matter if you have a good public transport system in place or not.

I can imagine a world where people cycle wherever they want to go- it certainly seems like an exciting world to live in!

What’s unique about the Paris Metro?

The Parisian underground, like most other parts of the city overground, is extremely charming. It has been in operation for over a 100 years, and clearly it is one of the most efficient transport systems in the entire world. It spreads over 250 kilometers of tracks, and connects parts of central Paris to many areas in the suburbs as well.

Paris Metro Map

However, there are a number of complaints leveled against the Parisian metro- the trains are not as punctual as people would like it to be, and France is quite well known for it’s workers strikes, which can leave thousands of people stranded without any train connectivity. However, these issues are being resolved- almost all trains run extremely punctual now, especially the ones that operate during peak hour.

However, what makes Paris’s underground unique is not just the trains, it’s the kind of experience you can enjoy there. If you are stuck in the station for a while, you can walk up to a bistro that can offer you an authentic French experience and some amazing pain au chocolat. If you are in one of the bigger stations such as Chatelet des Halles, you may even run into a number of musicians belting out latest pop numbers of Beethoven partitas. There are a number of violinists and accordion players who even play on the trains themselves.

Musician in Paris Metro Train

Say what you want, if you are a tourist, you must go on the Paris metro- it will make you feel like you are in a film!

The Tube

Of all the transport systems in the world I truly believe the London Underground is one of the classics. Sure, the French have that lovely Gothic script on their signage, and New York has a system that has grown from being no mans land, to something for everyone – but, in my mind the one that springs to mind is always London. It gets confusing with underground systems, countries, and even cities, have their own name for them – Paris has the Metro, Germany the U-Bahn. The London Underground got its nickname, The Tube, unsurprisingly, due to the circular construction of its tunnels.

While it may not be the biggest network in the world (only 12th), it is the oldest – first construction was in 1863 of the then named Metropolitan Railway – a steam hauled system, sure to leave commuters a bit dirty. But, what sets it apart is the way the system has engaged with its users – creating iconic imagery such as the Tube Map, which has inspired artists to create imitations, such as The Great Bear by Simon Patterson. London Underground also created Art On the Underground to provide new and emerging artists with visual space in carriages and stations to display work, including poetry and murals. It may still be an expensive, overcrowded system – but, if you get it right it can also be one of those pleasures to travel on.

The Great Bear re-invents the tube map

Melbourne Trams

 

 

melbourne hook turn system

What better way to start of my blog than in my hometown, Melbourne. The one thing that sets Melbourne apart from its interstate rival Sydney is its much-loved tram network. Up to 1961 Sydney operated a tram system but decided to shut it down, a decision they’re now rethinking with the introduction of ‘light rail networks’ (really, just fancy trams!).

Melbourne stuck with its trams despite being unfashionable, and, as the city spread, not always practical. Started in 1884, it has become the worlds largest urban tram network. It has given Melbourne an iconic city landscape, with the historic W class trams trundling along – they might not be as comfortable as the newer classes, but they have a beautiful look that is instantly identifiable. Driving in Melbourne is also unique due to the trams, a fact that leaves many drivers new to Melbourne roads puzzled – in the city-centre a hook turn system operates whereby drivers wanting to turn right must turn in front of the traffic waiting to their left, this avoids traffic stopping across the road and blocking trams.

Trams are such a part of Melbourne any Royal or VIP visitor will be sure to be seen aboard (even if the general public are kept off). Visitors to Melbourne wanting to take the experience one step further can even dine on board a special dinner tram that winds its way around the city while you eat. Possibly the best bit for a traveller, however, is that there is a completely free city circle tram operating daily – not many other cities offer this!