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Entries in transportation (7)

Wednesday
May212014

Big City Transit: Sydney, Australia


Sydney is a world-class city with a variety of public transport options you’ll need in motion. The offerings are a little bit underwhelming (though entirely adequate), with no dedicated underground service and LRT routes that keep opening, closing and opening again along new arteries. While you may hear locals complaining about the rising specter of traffic or a confounding shortage of taxis, the truth is that visitors don’t really feel the pinch when it comes to Sydney’s public transit woes. By all rights, the city has you covered via road, rail and sea.

If you're planning a go-wherever-you-feel-like tour of Sydney vs. a more regimented itinerary, you’ll almost certainly save money with the MyMulti Day Pass. Pay a flat rate and enjoy 24 hours’ access to all of the following:

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Wednesday
Feb262014

Big City Transit – Taipei

Thankfully, Taipei lacks the endless, jam-packed urban sprawls of other Asian cities like Beijing or Bangkok, but it still packs a punch when it comes to rush hour traffic and labyrinthine public transportation. For tourists going in with the mentality of “doing what the locals do,” and just copying a random commuter, they may find themselves on alternative lines of transit, which can range from cross-country trains to rentable tandem bikes, so…best to know exactly how things work before you dive in.

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Wednesday
Dec042013

Big City Transit: Hong Kong

Hong Kong has it all – from subways and buses to affordable taxis and surprisingly speedy ferries. As compact as Hong Kong is, even your two feet have serious currency. Getting around a major metropolis doesn’t get much easier than this.

First things first: go to a 7-Eleven or MTR service counter and purchase an Octopus card. In a city where so many different transport companies are running routes by land, rail and sea, this all-in-one smart card is a lifesaver. Practically every form of public transit accepts the Octopus, and you’ll save yourself from that awkward standoff with a driver who needs exact change when you don’t have it.

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Wednesday
Nov062013

Big City Transit: Singapore

You’re never far from where you want to be in Singapore – and that’s just one more reason to love the local transit system. You can wheel around in a trishaw or board a bumboat to cruise the Singapore River and admire the skyline. For pure transit needs in this world-class city, you’ll find everything you need between the MRT, taxis and buses. And as with so many things in Singapore, you can expect that the infrastructure is going to be well-organized and spotlessly clean.

Residents and long-term visitors carry an EZ-Link stored value card, which covers both the MRT and bus networks and eliminates those awkward scrounging-for-change-in-your-pocket moments. If you’re just in the city for a few days, pick up a Singapore Tourist Pass for a few bucks per day and enjoy unlimited access to the MRT and buses. 

Read on for a breakdown of Singapore’s transit system:

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Wednesday
Sep112013

Big City Transit: Jakarta

Just so we’re clear: Jakarta has a traffic problem. The city’s official tourism portal tactfully points out that congestion is a problem “despite the presence of many wide roads”. That’s one way of putting it, and here’s another – there’s plenty to enjoy in this energizing metropolis; but getting around isn’t one of them.

Jakarta is the biggest city in the world without a mass rapid transit system. Construction is underway, but relief is a long way off. Meanwhile, car ownership in the capital grows 10 to 15 percent each year. Analysts are even counting down to an impending ‘total gridlock’ apocalypse, where traffic becomes so bad that it begins to affect the efficiency of the city’s workforce and the economic output thereof. It sounds sensational, but total gridlock is no joke, and it’s a very hot topic in Jakarta.

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Wednesday
Jul312013

Big City Transit: Seoul

If a think-tank full of the world’s top city planners and developers put their heads together to design a state-of-the-art public transport system, it would probably end up looking a lot like Seoul’s. To be fair, that’s not far from what actually happened. The Seoul of post-war Korea expanded rapidly as people from the surrounding countryside poured in. Those people needed practical and effective infrastructure, and transit solutions that worked. And that’s exactly what they got.

That’s good news for today’s visitors. For all of Seoul’s drab (some would say ‘soulless’) architecture, the city redeems itself with one of the cleanest, most beautifully organized public transport systems in the world. All a visitor needs is a public transit map, a card with the name and address of their Seoul hotel written in Korean and a stored value card (try the Seoul City Pass or T-Money card) and you can get pretty much anywhere you need to go. You’ll end up doing a little bit of walking between stations and your onward destination, but this is nominal. Wherever you are headed, the subway, taxis and buses of Seoul will get you there quickly.

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Wednesday
May232012

Navigating Thailand by Bus

Taxis might be cheap in Bangkok compared to those in other world capitals, but they’re not always the best option. Some don’t want to turn their meter on, some might not know where it is you want to go, and some will outright refuse to take you anywhere at all.

The BTS Skytrain and MRT underground still have limited reach making Thailand’s buses worth mastering to get to outlying towns and provinces without having to pay for a taxi or private car. In the metro area tickets range from free to 18 baht, up to a maximum of 1,500 which gets you an overnight VIP government bus all the way down to Phuket or Hat Yai. The bus system is not always easy to decipher, however. So here’s a guide for first timers.

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