My sister-in-law was visiting from out-of-town this weekend for a wedding. We were sitting at lunch today and she asked me what the transportation system was like in Europe. Europeans don’t realize how great they have it.Here in America we are so dependent on our cars for everything. I feel it would be very difficult for many to make the switch to public transportation no matter how many adjustments were made to the system. I would like to believe that with the increase in consciousness about the environmental impact that people would welcome the change.
I didn’t realize how special and different the system really was until I returned home to the States. I would really like to avoid owning car, but the realization of the difficulties it imposes here in my hometown are disconcerting. I am hoping to be able to survive my few months here in the states with only my bike.
In Europe this wouldn’t be an issue. It is a common for many to travel around by bike. They also have an excellent train system. No, the trains aren’t always on time, and aren’t without their hiccups, but they are clean, efficient, affordable, and regular. In Europe, I walked, rode a bike, and rode in a bus or train more than I ever rode in a car. Even in rain and in crazy wind.
They have been able to develop a system that allows them to survive without a car. I know that there are cities in the U.S are closer to the European way of life. I would have to say that one of the main differences would be the amount of cities serviced by the train system. Many of even the smallest towns had a train station. You could easily walk down the street to the station and hop on a train and be in the next city within a few minutes for only a couple of euros. I saw many people commuting to work and school everyday. I know that with the price of gas in Germany this certainly had to help keep monthly expenses down.
Having a car does have its conveniences, especially when you have children, in bad weather, and when running late. The point is, however, if you don’t or can’t have a car in Europe there is a working system in place that makes it completely doable. They have developed a system of daily life that allows them to keep things a bit more simple and focus on what’s more important.
I really wish we could transport some of the culture, philosophies, and conveniences into our daily life here. In a later article I will share how to save the most money while traveling through Germany with their transportation system.
How do you feel about your local public transportation system? What do you wish was different?