Lessons in the "transport" Category

A visit to an airport

Today, let’s talk about a visit to an airport. Many of us are likely to visit one when we go on holiday. Others who don’t jet-off are likely to pick someone up or drop them off at the drop off zones outside most airports. These days many airport owners make a killing by charging exorbitant car park fees, both for short stay and long stay car parks. People are encouraged to take the bus or train to avoid this.

Category: Transport / Airports / Terminals

End of the road for the Philippine Jeepney?

Today, let’s talk about the Philippine Jeepney. What is that you ask? It’s an open mini bus-jeep that is derived from the American Jeep. Jeepneys can carry about 18 people, who sit shoulder to shoulder in it. There are glassless windows for ventilation in the hot Asian climate.

Jeepneys are the most popular form of transport in the gridlocked streets of Metro Manila. In fact, you will find them all over the Philippines. Each vehicle represents the multi-cultural history of the country. Every one of them is different. They are colourful, distinct and bright! There is a touch of Spanish, Mexican, American and Japanese in each of them.

Category: Transport / Jeepneys / Philippines

Red double-decker buses to be considered in Bratislava!

SMS message – ‘I’ve just been for a free ride on a brand new red double-decker bus in Bratislava’. It’s true I did! The red bus was, to say the least, an unusual sight as it travelled around the historic old town of Bratislava in Slovakia.

Why is it in the city? The new Slovak built and designed red double-decker bus is on loan to the city to see if its citizens would like to have them in the future. Why not?

Category: Transport / Double-decker Buses / Bratislava

The wonderful potholes on our roads!

Today, let’s talk about the potholes on our roads. You’ll find them in every town, city and in greater numbers in the countryside. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some are more dangerous than others.

Flooding and long spells of freezing temperatures cause potholes and the decay of roads. Poor quality road construction caused by corrupt officials putting the money in their pockets then using sub-standard materials is another cause.

Category: Roads / Potholes / Transport

New sleeper coach service from London to Scotland

Planning a visit to Scotland this summer? If you are and you’re a budget traveller you might want to consider taking a new sleeper coach service that is going to be introduced this summer by coach company Megabus.

You’ll be able to travel from London to Edinburgh or Glasgow (or in the opposite direction) in under eight hours. The new budget coach service will offer passengers cut price tickets that will include a bunk bed and a sleeper kit.

Category: Tourism / United Kingdom / Places to Visit

An imaginary road trip to the airport

Today, let’s talk about traffic signs and travelling around town in a vehicle. In order to help you I am going to take you on an ‘imaginary’ road trip to the airport. Sit back – here we go…

I have just finished teaching an English lesson. I am short of time so instead of taking a bus I take a taxi. We are heading to the airport where I am going to meet a friend. We are currently on a motorway. Ahead is a traffic jam. We sit there for ten minutes. It looks like several drivers have had accidents. All were driving too fast – idiots! A car in front then edges forward, doesn’t look ahead at the car stopping in front of him – Bang! Another idiot driver.

Further up is the real cause of the delay. A three car accident with one vehicle written off. Nasty! One passenger is injured. An ambulance has just arrived. Two police cars are also in attendance. Interestingly the drivers and their passengers are wearing fluorescent coats on the road outside their vehicles.

Category: Driving / Road Journey / Taxi

Why doesn’t the USA have high speed rail?

Why doesn’t the USA have high speed trains? Good question! China has them, so does Japan. They are all over Europe. All run between 300-431kph (186-268mph). Yet in America the fastest train does a mere 241kph (150mph) and that is over a very short distance.

The average speed in the USA of a high speed train is an incredible 127kph (79mph)! The USA seems to have got left behind. The definition to Americans of high speed trains is the Acela Express that runs from New York to Washington DC. Why is this so? It is probably because Americans prefer to fly between cities, as it’s cheaper. The other reason is the motor car. Another reason is the lack of investment.

Considering the size of America these days it is cheaper and quicker to fly than to take the train between cities. However, if the price was right and the speed of the railways was increased all that could change. The latter though involves some considerable investment.

Category: USA / Railways / High Speed Trains

The British roundabout revolution in the USA

A British roundabout revolution is slowly sweeping across America. The US famous for its stop signs and traffic lights is now starting to embrace the British roundabout. The city of Carmel in Indiana is one such example. It has been described as ‘the Milton Keynes of the USA’.

Lying on the outskirts of Indianapolis, Carmel is seeing more and more roundabouts created. The question is why? The Mayor of Carmel Jim Brainard explains: “We are saving thousands of gallons of fuel per year per roundabout.”

The city is at the forefront of the roundabout revolution that is taking place across several American States. The circular traffic intersection was redesigned in 1960s Britain by Frank Blackmore. He tinkered with the designs and established the modern roundabout by introducing a “Give way” rule for cars entering.

The idea was subsequently exported around the world. It didn’t arrive in the USA till 1990 when one was installed in Nevada. Since then more than 3,000 have sprung up. California has now built 200 in the last three years.

Category: USA / Roundabouts / Transport

Going underground on London Underground

Most people who visit London tend to try out the London Underground. Going on the tube is an experience in its own right. It is part of the exciting London experience when seeing the sights. Oyster cards are a popular way to get around.

London Underground first opened on January 10th 1863 with the opening of the Metropolitan line between Paddington and Farringdon. Originally, there were many companies who each built separate lines. It was only in 1902 that a Charles Yerkes bought most of the lines, putting them under one company. Over the years the network grew into what it is today.

Londoners and tourists alike all use the famous Underground map to get about the city. Created in 1931, Harry Beck’s Tube map is a classic map design of non geographical layout and colour coded lines. Many other transport lines around the world copied the idea. Compared to the real map it simplified how to get around the capital quickly.

Category: London / The Underground / Underground Stations

New York’s new generation of yellow taxis

New York’s famous yellow taxis are set to change. New York City has picked the Nissan minivan to be its next cab. The Japanese car company Nissan Motors has won the contract to provide the next generation of New York taxis. The deal was announced recently by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. It is estimated to be worth US$1bn (€692m).

The design will be based on Nissan’s NV200 minivan model. Nissan beat US carmaker Ford Motor and Turkish manufacturer Karsan Otomotiv for the 10 year contract, which will be phased in starting in 2013. Mayor Michael Bloomberg acknowledged the Nissan NV200’s boxy form evokes suburbia, but said the yellow paint would give it the iconic New York touch.

The vehicle features an overhead window to offer views of city skyscrapers, and charging stations for mobile phones and laptops. The car will also feature satellite navigation, so passengers leaving the main Manhattan corridors will not have to contend with drivers who do not know their way around.

Category: New York / Transport / Yellow Taxis