perceptions - transport
Mark McCormack (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tue, 22 Jul 1997 22:24:53 +1000
I thought to start with transport and getting around, and to point out how
easy or hard it is in different locations.
First of all Australia is not the easiest country to get around if you do
not have a car, you either take a bus (long trips between cities), the train
(likewise), and flying, it aint cheap. But because of the economies of
scale the public transport it efficient, up to a point. Some will argue
this of course. You can get around the cities quite well on public
transport and not need a car, but because of the size of the cities in land
mass sometimes it is quicker to take a car. For example Melbourne is
considered the 3rd largest city in the world just on land mass covered.
I have traveled by public transport and Europe's public transport is very
good, it a large population in a small area and thus it is possible to
travel almost any where if you can afford it. Travel by train can be quick
but it is often cheaper to take the bus. The trains are connected so that if
you are going to poin b from A via C the waiting time is very short. But
because Europe is small I could be virtualy anywhere where I wanted to be by
dark, this is not possible in Australia. The bus takes 12 hours t get to
Melbourne from Sydney or a couple hours more between Brisbane and Sydney.
This includes 2 rest breaks for the drivers. In South Africa the times to
travel between cities are similar to that in Australia and the USA, it takes
all bloody day.
I have to say this unfortunately but the quality of the Grey Hound buses in
the USA is the pits. The drivers are good and know what they are doing, but
if they operated the same bus in Australia they would be out of business.
The Scheduling and service at the terminals has a lot to be desired. I
could say a lot of my displeasure of the system but I wont.
Getting around New York and Washington DC was surprisingly easy. It was a
little harder in Orlando. Las Vegas strip had he main service there and the
street car (tram) service in New Orleans was OK but at least it is being
upgraded. One thing I found interesting in the USA is that the drivers do
not touch the money, they do not carry change and if you do not have correct
money, bad luck. And this was the same everywhere.
Air transport in the USA, is it normal that you don't get a feed during the
flight? This was what I discovered on my flights within the USA. I had an
Air pass, similar to that of a rail pass. I only travelled on the Amtrak
rail system once and it was a nice trip between New York and Washington DC,
but like all buffet cars around the world charges like a wounded bull.
The most efficient public transport system I saw was that in South Africa
and the Black Taxi service. The black taxi service are 8-12 seater mini
buses, owned by the driver and they go all over the place. There is an
unwritten rule and that is if you are not dressed up properly in good clean
clothes you will not get picked up. This taxi service can take almost
anywhere, there are special taxi locations so that if you are travelling
between cities you can get the correct vehicle. This service is set by the
black people of South Africa to primariy service the Black people of South
Africa are much needed commidity that was not being provided by any other
means. This service also employs a lot of people.
If you have any questions please ask or if you have some thing to say please
do, scouting is all about exploring (no pun intended) the world and ourselves.