Monday, February 9, 2009

Public transportation in Japan

Japan has a great public transportation system. They have trains, subways, buses, etc. Thus far I have found it extremely easy to get around. True, my day typically involves a relatively small area in which I can walk or ride my bike around but we do venture out on occasion. The train stations have wonderful route maps and the signs are abundant and easy to read. Most of the stations have an information booth where you can get local area maps and tips on how to get to your final destination. The major sites are well-marked with maps and signs along the roads (in English). Additionally, you can purchase a rechargeable card, put money on it and just scan in/out at the turn style at the station and it auto-deducts your fare (the card works on most buses too)...this further aids in the ease of transport.

I think of Seattle and I can't imagine a visitor from a foreign country getting around. You see people wandering around downtown with those silly cartoon maps that have no scale and it is a wonder nobody ends up in Elliott Bay. I think there are so many cool things about Seattle that aren't right in the downtown core (e.g.; the locks and Golden Gardens in Ballard, Gasworks Park in the Freemont area) do people get there? I guess they have to rent a car or take a taxi or if they have done their homework they might be able to take a bus. Such a shame...

1 comment:

  1. I was just thinking about how you can use a credit/debit card now to pay for parking and you can use it to pay for the streetcar - but they haven't figured out a way to pay for the bus. You either have to already have bus tickets or a pass you ordered online or the right amount of change. Not the end of the world, but it's frustrating.

    Sounds like Japan has it figured out. Maybe someday Seattle will catch up.