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Friday, December 07, 2007

Metro or Bus?

Moving around Madrid is very easy because transportation network in the city is excellent. This opinion, of course, is from somone who used to live in an overcrowded city in a third world/developing country, namely Jakarta. Jakarta's traffic is a mess and its transportation network is the same. Buses and trains are normally overcrowded during busy hours. The vehicles' condition is mostly bad and getting trapped in a traffic jam and going nowhere for half an hour or even an hour is considered normal in Jakarta. The worst traffic jam in Madrid is still better than the "normal" traffic jam during busy hours in Jakarta. Check this website to read more about this story.

Anyway, this is not a story about how good the traffic jam in Madrid is in comparison to that in Jakarta but about the two most convenient transportation modes in Madrid. The first one is underground train and the second inner city bus.

The people of Madrid are very proud of their underground train network or METRO as they call it here. It has many stations around the city, well-connected between metro lines (routes), well-connected to the bus and surface railway stations and it is one of the oldest underground train networks in Europe. More importantly, all metro stations in Madrid have clear signs, which are easy to follow although we don't speak Spanish and the stations are clean.

However, it doesn't mean there is no negative points about the metro stations in Madrid. The negative points are: first they don't have toilets at all and second some of them have no elevator, which can cause trouble for grandmas and grandpas and not accessible for the disabled people. Nevertheless, travelling by using metro in Madrid is generally quick, easy and convenient but we cannot enjoy the view of the city because all are underground.

If we want to enjoy the view of Madrid, then travelling by bus is the better option. Public bus in Madrid are well-maintained, most of them are new, clean and well-connected between bus route. There are lots of haltes in Madrid and they usually have enough information for us to find our way. There is a transporation map of the city in every halte and there is, of course, time table information for the particular bus routes that pass by the halte.

It is important to note that buses in Madrid are often full of passangers and it is fair to say that travelling by buses during busy hours can be a pain in the arse, well not arse but rather feet, because we probably have to stand in the bus all the way to our destination.

The puublic bus service in Madrid is managed by The Municipal Transport Company of Madrid S.A.. Its abbreviation is EMT or Empresa Municipal de Transportes de Madrid S.A. Its website is at http://www.emtmadrid.es/index.html?lang=eng. The website of EMT is an important source of information for travelling in Madrid by bus because it contains all bus routes in the city. We can find the exact location and halte numbers of the bus we want to travel with in the EMT website.

So, metro or bus, each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Both are useful, modern and well managed.

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