07 March 2007

Public transportation planners, pay attention

Here are my gripes about the public transport system in Brussels. Apologies in advance for complaining.

•The city is humongous, but there are only two metro lines. For the center. One of them is a circle and one splits into A and B, just to make things more confusing. The bus lines often do not go where you need to go. (Barcelona: anywhere you need to go, the metro goes. There are seven or eight lines, plus three or four new tram lines. We never have to take the bus.)

•These metro lines are decorated in hideous seventies colors, the lines are marked in oranges and reds that are hard to tell apart, and all the trains are dirty. (Barcelona: trains are clean and often new, with bright rainbow colors designating each line so you are never in doubt which line you are on.)

•Metro, bus, and tram drivers seem trained to barrel as fast as they can and then brake like demons every five seconds so that their passengers get sloshed around and break a few bones. (Barcelona: trains and trams come gently to a stop and even elderly people can safely ride.)

•It's expensive. The ten-trip cards are only available at metro stations (which, as I've said, are only in the center), and if you run out and have to buy a ticket on the bus, it's two euros. (Barcelona: only 69 cents, and tickets available throughout the city.)

•All the lines close at midnight on weekends (even earlier on weekdays), and from 9 to 12 only a few busses/trams come by, so you have to wait up to thirty minutes in the cold and probably the rain since it's usually raining. (Barcelona: on weekends, open until 2 am, midnight on weekdays. The longest wait is 5 or 7 minutes.)

•The entrances and exits in every metro station are much more confusing than necessary, and signage is lacking in key points. (Barcelona: everything is clearly marked, with usually just two or three directions to choose from once you step off the train, and clear maps of the whole system and of the immediate area right in front of you.)

Thank you. In lieu of any real public transportation planner-type person who would pay attention, you, reader of this blog, have helped me let it all out.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Hello dear Robin! Henry and I are sitting here catching up on your life. It's so nice to be able to read about what you are doing. Also, I read about a Brussels chocolate shop I wondered if you went to? Marcolini Chocolatier? Perhaps I'm doing too much thinking about chocolate, as I gave it up for Lent! Lots of love to you and Marti.