Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Public Transportation

To be honest, most of my humble life....I lived in non-urban areas.  So public transportation was never really a factor.  In Kaiserslautern, public transportation was a joke.  If I wanted to ride the bus from my village over to the base.....it was one brief window of opportunity....getting on a 5:35AM bus in my village, and spending almost two hours to cover eight miles.  Yeah, I could have walked it in almost the same time period.

Wiesbaden is a bit different.  Public transportation in the Hessen area is a reality.  A guy can step out of his house, and if he timed it right....he can be in the center of Wiesbaden in twelve minutes, at a cost of roughly two Euro.  If the guy needed to progress to Frankfurt?  Toss on forty minutes, but it's a simple and practical matter.

The local bus system came up in an article today, within the Wiesbaden Kurier newspaper, and admitted that they handle 50 million passengers a year.  Then they proudly noted that they think they can handle 65 million.....dreaming of this more enhanced and developed public transportation line.

But there is this little negativity brewing locally.  If you ride the bus system from mid-afternoon until 6PM, you'd swear that every single bus is packed and maxed out.  A 120-passenger bus is probably loaded with 130 passengers....possibly even 140 folks.

There are general complaints about this brief morning and late afternoon surge activity.  No one is happy, and most would still prefer to travel by car.  This all relates back to massive traffic issues for a region that doesn't have that many plan 'B' routes.

Studies have come and gone.  Experts dive into the topic and always talk of a S-bahn for Wiesbaden.....a light-rail service.  Then they get into the cost factor and everyone starts to laugh because no one is going to find hundreds of millions to finance something like this.  And if you did toss a light-rail up.....from where to where?

Mainz spent millions years ago, and has a very dynamic light-rail system throughout the city.  Travel patterns are standardized and most everyone in Mainz will tell you they are fifteen minutes from anywhere in town they desire to travel to.

In the end.....I doubt if anything much in Wiesbaden changes.  Maybe a few more buses, but whatever window of opportunity existed.....has closed.

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