Caught (up) in traffic

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Melbourne’s transit system

One thing I always look forward to whenever I am traveling is to try out the public transport system of the cities I am visiting. My first day in Melbourne gave me an opportunity to familiarize with the city’s transportation including the trams and bikeways. Following are some photos I took as I went around the city center on-board their trams. I actually purchased a myki card but discovered a bit later that tram rides were free when you’re within the zone defining the city center. You only need to swipe or tap when you leave the zone where transit will charge the corresponding fares to your destination.

Tram passing by the stop where I decided to stand by to take a few photos while familiarizing with the network map.

Melbourne transit network map and information on priority seats

Inside the circle tram that goes around the city center

Typical transit stop

Vintage tram

Tram crossing an intersection

Modern transit vehicle

I found Melbourne’s transit to be quite efficient and the coverage was comprehensive enough considering the city was walkable and bicycle-friendly. This meant people had many options to move about and this mobility definitely contributes to productivity. More on transportation in Melbourne and Sydney in future posts.

Commuting conveniences in Singapore

My recent trip to Singapore allowed me to get reacquainted with its efficient and convenient public transport system. The first thing I did when I arrived at Changi was to proceed to the SMRT station beneath the airport to take a train to the city center where our hotel was located. There I got me a tourist pass for unlimited 2-day commuting over the weekend we were there. I also decided to get a new EZ link card as I saw they released a design for the Chinese New Year (Year of the Monkey). I missed getting myself a Star Wars card, which the staff said were immediately sold out.



IMG_1067Escalator to the SMRT Station beneath the Changi Airport Terminal 2

IMG_1068Heading down, you realize that the station is way under the airport terminal

IMG_1069After a second long flight of escalators, you reach the station level for the N-S line (green)

IMG_1070Ticket machines for purchasing tickets, cards or topping up (reloading) your card

IMG_1071Ticket office where you can purchase a pass or EZ link card

IMG_1072N-S line platform at Changi Airport Terminal 2

Singapore along with Hong Kong provides very good examples of how public transport should be and the benefits these can provide to people. Tourist passes and the EZ link card gives us a good example of how convenient commuting can be in terms of fare payment/collection.

San Diego’s Compass Card

Whenever I am in a new city, I try to learn about their transport system. This includes finding out if they have some conveniences with respect to public transport like a transit card that you can use for various modes of public transport. Examples of these are cards in Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan that you can just reload (top up) and swipe or tap at terminals found in most if not all public transport. In Japan, you can even use their cards to purchase items at convenience stores or vending machines.

San Diego has what it calls the Compass Card, which you can use for the trolley and bus services. You can purchase a card from the Transit Store or at any of the machines located at the trolley stations. The Compass Card can be used to load day passes (instead of purchasing paper passes).

IMG11002-20150505-1048Compass card vending and reloading machine – you can also purchase special tickets here like the 1-day Pass that basically allows you to have unlimited use of the trolley and buses within the day of purchase.

IMG11487-20150515-1329Compass card front shows also the private sponsor/partner of the MTS – Albertsons

IMG11488-20150515-1329 At the back of the card are information on the use, care and expiration of the card.

IMG11003-20150505-1053Timetable and route information for the San Diego trolley

IMG11004-20150505-1053A close-up of the route map for the San Diego trolley’s three lines.

More detailed information on the Compass Card can be found in this link. I will write about the trolleys in succeeding posts.