Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Public Transportation

Blimey Cow Photo-A-Day
05. How you support you local chivalry.
To be honest, it sounds rather unchivalrous
to talk about that, so I'm just going to say
that the bus provides many opportunities,
and leave it at that.
One of my favorite things about living abroad is the fabulous public transportation.  Its availability has been a bit of a theme in the places I have lived abroad, and, I must admit, I've been rather spoiled.  Many of the expats miss their cars terribly, and, well, I do miss mine as well, but, as it is no longer with us, I think it's a different kind of missing it, because I don't miss driving - just my car.  Anyway, back to the topic at hand.

The busses, the taxis, the subways, the trains, the FEET - I love them, and I miss them when I'm not living near them.  They're awesome.  They get me where I want to go in a decent amount of time.  They somehow have fast-passes to get them around traffic.  AND, even when they go on strike, they still run.

Yes, I've survived a major public transportation strike in both Germany and Korea, now.  In Germany, the bus drivers went on strike for a week or so, if I remember correctly, but they still sent one around about every hour or so, because being timely is a HUGE deal in German culture.  Yesterday, the taxi drivers went on strike here, but they were up and running again by seven.  I assume that was mostly because continuing their strike past then would destroy the economy of our city, as the busses stop running at ten.  No public transportation to the downtown area = many people not gong out = many businesses not getting customers = well, you can do the math from there.  But, any way you slice it, the bearers of pubic transportation in these cities really take their jobs seriously.  It's not just a job; they're honestly looking out for public interest.  This is a big deal to me, in case you couldn't tell.

This guy walks his daughter and his bike very close to school every morning.
Then, he hops on this very interesting looking bike in his work attire, and off he goes.
Considering the lack of trees in our city, I'd say he's doing us all a big service.

My cousin Andrew (who just happened to graduate valedictorian of his class - I'm only a little proud) wrote a paper about how America could be so much better off by upgrading its public transportation system.  His time in Japan heavily influenced the paper, so I'm assuming they have excellent public transportation there, too.  I don't remember all the details of it, but I remember it being extremely well-written and convincing, so I'm hoping that, by my tagging him in this, he'll read this and share some of his thoughts.

It seems to me that just about the only country not with the program here is America.  Now, I know America is great, and it's the best at everything, and we all like our independence, and blah blah blah BLAH.  Here's the thing, folks - If you can think of nothing but yourself, think of this: better public transportation means that rush hour is much closer to actually living up to its name.  We'll talk about global responsibility another time.

All right, that's what I have for you.  I'm so sorry if you've been deprived of the wonders of good public transportation, and I hope you can experience it soon.

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