Friday, October 14, 2005

Foot And Rail

Heidelberg, Germany 17:30 Thursday afternoon (delayed post)

Here's how good the public transportation system is in Germany. I left the Hilton in Berlin this morning, walked across the street to the U-bahn station, and took the U2 subway to the Zoologischer Garten Bahnhof in Berlin. From there, I caught the ICE 877 train to Mannheim.

Coming into Mannheim, my arriving train was about five minutes late, so I missed my scheduled regional train from there to Heidelberg. No problem. I look at a timetable, and see that there's an S3 train leaving from track 10 in less than 15 minutes. It's going to Heidelberg, with just a few intermediate stops. The regional train would have been non-stop to Heidelberg, but so what.

I get off the S3 at the Heidelberg Hauptbahnhof, and walk seven or eight minutes to the Heidelberg Marriott. Note that at no time did I have to drive, or even hail a taxi. Nothing but trains and my own two feet, and I didn't even have to walk that much. And when I go downtown for dinner tonight, I'll walk one block to the strassenbahn (street car), and walk a short way to where I want to eat.

We take a lot of what I think is unfair criticism from the Europeans, but when they criticize our mass transit system, they know what they're talking about.


Anonymous said...

The euros might have good public transport, but that's because they got to start with pretty much a clean slate in 1945...

Eric said...

Heheh...good point!