Public transportation can trace its routes back to ancient Greek mythology which depicted early forms of water ferries carrying corpses with coins underneath their tongue to pay the ferryman for their travel to Hades. However, the omnibus of Paris is believed to be the first organised system within a city like the thousands of networks found today across the world from Abu Dhabi to Zurich. But how do these public transport networks differ from each other over thousands of miles across continents and over borders?
Zurich, Tokyo, Munich, Singapore and Seoul (Korea) are seen by many to have the best transportation systems anywhere in the world; vast networks with multiple transportation modes which are clean, reliable and easy-to-use. Meanwhile, Sao Paulo (Brazil), Manila (Philippines) and Mumbai (India) are voted as having some of the worst systems in the world where overcrowding, inefficiency, disconnection and overpricing are experienced by many in their day-to-day use of these systems. Prices for public transport tickets can also vary significantly from city to city.
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Caracas in Venezuela, South America, is a notable example of this: it is an oddly expensive place for tourists to visit but the government there have been successful in keeping the cost of public transportation wildly affordable for the masses. Caracas’ modern underground network has a flat rate ticket price equaling just 9 pence for a single trip. Compare that to Copenhagen where the price of a single bus, tram or subway journey costs 36 times more at roughly £3.25. This is likely one of the contributing factors for Copenhagen’s status as king of the cycling cities where 17% of all trips in the city are made by bike. This has also been helped by the Danish government investing €373m since 2009 in cycle projects and infrastructure like Copenhagen’s enviable bike sharing network, Bycyklen.
Other examples of cities which differ from the norm include:
- Beyoglu in Turkey which has an underground funicular railway that climbs 60 vertical meters over half a kilometre from the seaside to the street;
- the maglev train in Shanghai which uses the negative forces of magnets to hover along a rail at a frictionless 431 km/h instead of traditional wheels on a rail track;
- And finally, the cgo yong (literally translated to the robotic cow) of Cambodia and Laos which is a kind of engine-on-a-welded-frame-cart-bus.
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Meanwhile, Scotland’s public transport network is made up of all of the local bus services, express coaches, Scotrail national rail services, ferries, Glasgow’s subway and Edinburgh’s tram route. In addition to these traditional public transport networks in the last decade Scotland has seen the introduction of Glasgow and Stirling’s public bike sharing schemes, a number of car clubs (car sharing) around the cities and towns of Scotland and the introduction of services such as Uber and Gett in Edinburgh and Glasgow. However, in many cases linking up these networks, services and information related to them has not always been easy. This has paved the way for an integrated transport platform which can offer a new Mobility as a Service model to the people of Scotland.
Pick&Mix is a project which exists to develop the first Mobility as a Service (MaaS) platform in Scotland and it will be launched in 2018, aimed at 16-25 year olds, as a real and viable alternative to car ownership.
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