Local Heart, Global Soul

July 11, 2019

Taking Me Back To The Bus Stop…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

As a born and bred Kiwi, and New Zealand having a lot of road for few people, I had rather a shock when I first saw the volume of traffic in Europe.

New Zealand is as big as the UK and the Netherlands combined but with a population of only four million people.

Just over one million of those live in the greater Auckland area, another million and a half live in the top half of the North Island.

The remaining million or so live in the lower North Island and all of the South Island. As a South Islander, nicknamed “Mainlanders” we are not used to even the traffic of Auckland.

Since New Zealand has space, things are often quite far apart and a car is pretty much a standard item in order to get around. The bus public transport system doesn’t have a vast pool of customers so is good, but limited.

That’s why it used to be possible to get your driver’s license at age 15 which I did as soon as my birthday arrived.

Then very soon afterwards the law was changed, the age raised to 16 with the additional introduction of a graded license system, first a Learner, Restricted and then Full license.

The Netherlands on the other hand has an amazing public transport system so it’s no surprise that many people don’t have a car.

Driving with trams and cycle-ways in the mix is another thing to get used to if you do have a car however, and the Dutch drivers license is notoriously difficult to get, with a 70% failure rate.

The 2017 Garderen Sand sculpture exhibition featured this aspect of society, with the information board translating as: “The bus”, “Don’t have a car? Take public transport. But don’t forget to check out...”

The checking out refers to the electronic method of payment, you need to scan your ticket/pass when you get into the bus or tram and then scan again when you leave. If you forget to scab out then you will be charged for more stops than you have used. it’s possible write in and complain but that takes time and quite a lot of effort with no guarantees of a refund.

I used buses and trams until I got pregnant with Kiwi Daughter, then we got a car. The main reason was that daycare provided by my employer was in a very inconvenience area from where we lived and I didn’t fancy a 1.5 to two hour journey each way due to terrible bus connections as I zig-zagged all over the city. We bit the bullet and bought a car which cut the journey to half an hour. Our car gets plenty of use, but it’s very expensive. No wonder many Dutch people in cities prefer to use public transport.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: