Transportation Field Note

Location: Brno, Czech Republic

 

Monday, March 25 12:15 PM

 

Abstract

Brno has the best transportation of any city I have lived in! The convenience of being able to hop on a tram or bus to get anywhere you need to go is fantastic.

 Introduction

Transportation in Brno is so amazing and easy to figure out. I love not having to deal with having a car here in Europe. Using public transportation every day has made me realize how important it is to creating a livable city. One of the most annoying things about life in the U.S. is traffic, but there is none in Brno!

 How do people get around?

The main modes of transportation are trams, buses, cars, and feet. Trams are powered by electricity and run with a set schedule along tracks on city streets. The buses here are also partially run by electricity and use the electricity lines when driving on the more crowded streets. Even though people do have cars, not everyone does and it is not necessary for getting around Brno. There are tram and bus stops all over the city, and you don’t have to walk any more than five to ten minutes to get to one. At night, the trams stop running but there are night buses that run all night and go to my dorm every hour.

I do not have much experience with cars in Brno, but there are cars driving alongside buses and trams. I was surprised to see cars driving on the same tracks that the trams take in the city center. The fact that cars are even allowed on the roads in the city center was strange to me. The city center is so pedestrian-friendly though and even though cars are permitted, there are not many. That is probably because parking is scarce.

Brno is a very walk-able city. Even though I can take trams and buses, much of the city is close enough to walk to within a half hour. I can’t wait for it to get warmer outside so I can explore more of the city on foot. Once after a big snowstorm, the trams had stopped running and I was stuck on the other side of the city. I always thought this area was far away, but a group of students walked back to our dorm and it took only twenty-five minutes. I was so surprised!

 How did I feel when I tried this way of getting around?

At first, I was intimidated by all of the various transportation options. There are so many different tram and bus routes to get from my dorm to the city center! Buying tickets was confusing, and I was afraid that I would get on the wrong tram. A couple of times I did end up going the wrong way. It was okay, though because whenever I got lost, I was able to discover a new area of the city and hop on the next tram in the opposite direction. Now, I am so relieved to have the convenience of public transportation! It made getting adjusted to Brno and figuring out the city so much easier. I have a monthly transport pass that allows me to use trams and buses without paying for a ticket each time.

Is this way of getting around connected to the culture and environment? How?

Because of the availability of trams and buses, less people in Brno drive cars. The trams and some of the buses run on electricity, which is better for the environment. Because the public transportation is so accessible, all kinds of people use it. I frequently see very elderly people on the train alongside businessmen, college students, and families. This creates a deeper sense of community. It also affects important aspects of daily life, like shopping. Here in Brno, people go to the grocery a few times a week or even daily. This is because you cannot carry huge amounts of grocery for a weekly or monthly supply on the tram.

In the United States, cars are central to our culture and daily way of life. Before I came here, it was so difficult to imagine not having a car to get me from place to place. Now, I am not looking forward to going back to the United States and having to drive everywhere. My hometown, Virginia Beach, is about the same size of Brno, but the public transportation there is not as convenient or widespread. When Americans shop, we stock up and get as much as we think we might possibly need for a long period of time. This change in lifestyle is something I have really had to get used to, and I am still adjusting.

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