Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Brussels public transport - masochists paradise

Living in Brussels and having to use the public transport every day makes me wonder. Mostly whether the people who invented reality shows based on survival got the idea from spending a week using Brussels public transport. Sadly "driving a sack of potatoes" attitude is actually the least annoying one.

First painful realisation is that Brussels doesn't actually have the  underground, despite all the signs indicating it. What Brussels has is trams pretending to be metros and buses occasionally posing as trams. 

There's many different kinds of problems and technical ones vary from big screens, telling you how often any mean of transport will make its appearance at the station but not also which one and when exactly. Trams are very often equipped with modern displays used to show the final destination or in case of buses, the commercial for the company logo. The ones that display actual stations and time are said to be experimental. Even the official map gives up at some point and stops showing names of stops. I guess if you got that far, you'll probably be OK in any case.

If you manage to catch the late tram/bus and at therefore don't have to resolve the occurring mystery of where and when the night buses drive and where to, you should consider yourself to be very lucky. The worst thing that can happen now is the tram will change its mind just before the last station and change the direction after short announcement in French. The display will however continue showing the actual destination where tram will of course not go.

But things go also the other way around and busses occasionally show other direction than the one they are actually going to. Which is confusing mostly for non-natives who don't know that the drivers failed attempt to push the button will now take another 2 - 3 hours of their life.

So what's the alternative? Cycling in Brussels unfortunately classifies as suicide attempt and walking is a bit too optimistic for such distances. I'm currently thinking of either learning to fly or getting a horse. What's your solution?

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alcessa said...

:-D Stay away from Brussels, that's what my husband said after having to travel there by car and use it ...

Cherry said...

Yes, normally I would but seems I will have to accept this chaos for shortly. Maybe I develop some very strong ignoring skills :)

apis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
apis said...

I was there last week, but didn't use the public transport.
At least the streets are clean. :)

You're not in Berlin anymore?

Cherry said...

Apis, you were lucky. Also with cleanness as the the streets are at least twice weekly filled with garbage bags, waiting for pick up. Community trash containers? No, that is simply too complicated.

Staying in BXL till february, otherwise still in Berlin yes :)