How Czechs Live (2): Trams And Buses Everywhere

In Brno on May 26, 2008 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged:

A friend of mine who lives in a brand new neighborhood on the very edge of Brno [her street is a dead-end street and there are just fields and meadows from that spot eastwards] spends one hour travelling to work and back every day. She boards the tram at its terminus and the ride itself takes 30 minutes.

Other people who live in villages near Brno travel by their own cars and in some cases its takes them significantly shorter time. But if there is anything that Czechs living in mid-sized and big cities do NOT complain about, it is their public transportation system.

Usual intervals at the average Brno tram stop are 2 to 5 minutes [on weekdays] and under 10 minutes on weekends. The buses and trams are clean, the damage is usually “only” limited to writer tags and scratched windows. I don’t remember seeing schedules at bus stops of Utah Transit Authority in Provo, UT. Czechs in cities often have special bus and tram lines in the morning and in the afternoon that operate in the vicinity of bigger factories. Stops are announced by an automated voice system. If you buy a card that is valid for the whole year, you can travel anytime anywhere around town and you save thousands. In case of, let’s say, a tram accident when trams stop buses immediately fill in…

The above photo is of an old bus that the Brno Transit Authority uses on special occasions. A really cool experience… 

Instead of boarding the bus via the front door [as we know it from many, if not most, U.S. cities] Czechs use all doors to get in and out. Which is one of the reasons why the job of a ticket inspector exists here. These people have had many conflicts with foreigners who are not familiar with the rules of ticket use…

4 Responses to “How Czechs Live (2): Trams And Buses Everywhere”

  1. Thanks for the description of Czech transit! I’m sure most North Americans would be jealous of that sort of transit frequency! Subways and some streetcars here run at 2-3 minute intervals at peak times, but less frequently at other times, and buses are the worst, running at say 10 minutes to 60 minutes apart, as they serve mainly suburbs.

    Longer vehicles (articulated buses and streetcars, and trains) here also have the POP (Proof Of Payment) fare system that lets customers board at any door and fare inspectors (transit police here) periodically check for passes or tickets (e.g. Salt Lake City Utah has this on their LRT). Automated announcements are getting more common, but are not universal. Most places are just coming out of a long period of transit neglect, so hardware is old technology and worn, but new equipment is appearing.

  2. SLC has a LRT? 🙂 I must have missed that… All I remember are Provo, UT buses that only let people get in and pay-as-you-board… I always had to remember to keep coins which is pretty frustrating because as you keep using bills your jar of pennies gets full very quickly….

  3. As a student living in Brno, I can say that Brno’s public transport is excellent. Always on time. Trams and electric buses are great!

  4. I must say that for sure, the public transportation in Brno ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!! There is nothing like it in North America. While the Czech’s hava 0% tolerance for alcohol while operating a any motor vehicle, they offer the people a unique way of getting home at any hour of the night with the “night buses”. Even if the trams and trolleys aren’t running, there are night buses that are going all night between 30-60 minutes apart.
    And because there is less traffic during these hours, these buses are practically “flying” thru the streets of Brno to get you to where you need to go.
    So, many pubs/and clubs can stay open later into the wee hours of the morning and everyone has a means of which to get home………
    And how about the “drink and drive” taxi. Which country has that? Someone in Brno started what I must say is one of the best services for people that drive somewhere and then drink and need to get home with their car.
    The “drink and drive” taxi has a driver for the taxi and another driver that drives your vehicle while you ride in your own car to your home/flat etc. The price for this service is almost the same as a normal taxi ride. My hat is off to the Czech people that can imagine something and do something about making such a business.

    All in all, public transportation in CZR works. And the Czech people are showing the rest of the world that they can and are doing their part to cut back on the waste of oil/fuel.
    When will the rest of the world do something that will actually save instead of wasting?


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