Friday, September 23, 2011

Potsdam On Three Euros A Day

This past summer I spent two pleasant weeks in Potsdam, Germany, just outside Berlin. Potsdam was the spiritual heart of the old Prussian monarchy (the loss of which cultural conservatives much regret), and it is rich in history and good architecture. Thanks to the fact that it was in the former East Germany, Potsdam is also something of a public transportation paradise.
Not many East Germans had cars, and East Germany lacked the money to replace tram systems with buses. As a result, even though Potsdam is a small city, it has an extensive streetcar system. With an all-day transit pass costing just over three Euros, it was easy to ride the whole system, which I did.
Service is frequent and well-patronized, even though most people now own an automobile. As so often in Europe, we see that having a car does not automatically mean using the car. Many trips are made on foot, on bicycle or on transit while the car sits at home. Not surprisingly, I found the trams generally better patronized than the buses, especially outside rush hour.
Every major tram stop, where routes exchange passengers, has an electronic sign board telling riders when the next trams will arrive on all routes.

Potsdam tram, by Sludgegulper

Potsdam tram, by bindonlane

Potsdam tram, by mikem 4600

Potsdam tram, by Sludgegulper

Potsdam tram, by bindonlane

Potsdam tram, by kafeeeinstein

more about public transport:

Crowdsourcing Realtime Transit Updates

Want to Save $825 This Month? Ride Public Transit

6 Reasons Driving Has Peaked in U.S. Cities

High speed rail in Texas: options

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