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Exemplary CyBaNa experience in two European cities

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I occasioned to be in Prague (capital of Czech Republic), and Amsterdam between 5th and 15th June. Linked here are pictures (and a video) taken on the tour, highlighting my "CyBaNa" (Cycling, Bus-ing, Nadaeyuvadu - a term coined by my friend, Das) experiences in these cities, which I thought would interest Prajagalu.

Prague is a compact city of some 1.25 million population, and was part of the earlier Soviet block. It has retained much of its old world charm, not having been damaged much by the wars.

Over the entire 5 days there, I travelled by car only once (returning to the airport, on the way out, with a bit of heavy luggage); otherwise it was all public transport. They have three underground (largely) metro lines, supplemented by excellent overground tram and bus systems, covering almost the entire city. You can buy 1-hr, whole day, or 3-day, ride as you like tickets, usable across all of the systems. The fares are very affordable, the frequencies are good, and they generally keep to the timings. The use of public transport is helped additionally by the excellent pedestrian facilities.

Of specific interest to me, besides, was the way the traffic police carried away a wrongly parked car, the pot-hole repair job that was carried out over a 4-hr period on a Sunday, and the tree nurturing efforts.

Amsterdam, though smaller, population-wise, has a number of satellite town-ships, spread all around it. My hosts reside in one, some 15 km from the heart of Amsterdam. Though the developments were originally car centric, conservation-consciousness has made the Dutch go in for levy of highest level of taxes, for whole of Europe, on fuel (petrol costs Eu 1.7 a litre - almost twice what we pay), while simultaneously developing a fairly good bus connectivity between Amsterdam and the satellite town-ships. And, for all local runs (including our 5km trip to a garden restaurant), it is the bicycle. Amsterdam city too has a well-developed network of underground (often under the wide network of canals, the city is famous for), trams, and buses. And, the cycling and walking facilitation is just amazing.

The video brings out the advantage of the tram over the BRTS (bus rapid transit system), in that the lanes can be used for all kinds of traffic, even while according priority for the tram.

Muralidhar Rao

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murali772's picture

how Copenhagen and Amsterdam did it

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One form of protest was painting white crosses on the asphalt where cyclists had been killed. This time, things happened. We started to rebuild our cycle track network in the early 1980s. Fatalities and injuries started falling. The network was expanded.

Excerpts from a highly readable article captioned "Why the Streets of Copenhagen and Amsterdam Look So Different From Ours" in CityLab. For the full text, click here.

Muralidhar Rao

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