Tag Archives: transportation

Ireland – Public Transportation – by Allison Brennhofer. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Ireland – Public Transportation – by Allison Brennhofer. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

I am not a fan of driving. There are multiple factors for that fact. They include that my sense of direction is abysmal at best, which does not help that I do not like not knowing where I am going, and a nasty car accident I was in my senior year of high school. One of the best parts of studying abroad in Ireland is that there is absolutely no way for me to drive a car for the four months I am in Europe. I don’t have a car at CSS either, but I somehow always get roped into driving people around anyway.

The public transportation in Europe is a dream come true for a person like me. I would say Ireland is the least efficient at public transportation and they are still quite good at it. Living in Louisburgh does complicate the system though. In order to get to the airport for the travels we have done, it involves a lengthy process. We take a thirty minute cab ride to Westport, the nearest town with a train station. From there, we take a three and a half hour train ride to Dublin. After disembarking from the train, we take an bus ride that can take anywhere between one to one and a half hours to the airport. There, we get onto whatever plane we are about to catch. When I went to Paris for spring break, we left Louisburgh at 6:30 AM and landed in Paris at 9:45 that night. Returning was much worse. Our last spring break stop was Florence, Italy. We woke up at four in the morning to get to the airport by five. We had a layover in Paris that we missed due to a frankly ridiculous passport control line. When it was all said and done, we got back to Louisburgh at 8:30 that night. When accounting for the time change, we had traveled for sixteen hours that day.

[The trains in Athens were covered in really beautiful and colorful graffiti]

The public transportation systems in the other countries I have visited have been so useful and easy to use. In Athens and Paris, we took the metro everywhere. The really nice thing about the metro is that if you’ve wandered away from places you recognize, you can just walk down into the metro station, figure out where you are, and take the appropriate metros from there. When we were in Zurich, Switzerland, we took the tram around the city. That was also a very nice way to get around and see more things.

[The cable lines in Zurich for the trams]

Florence was the only place that we did not take public transport as much. We took a bus to our Airbnb and a taxi to the airport when we left (because we had to be at the airport at 5 in the morning and that was awful). However, that was it. We walked everywhere else. Florence is a very compact city to explore. That was also great, though, because we saved money on transportation. Because of the savings, I invested my money in eating gelato three times a day. It was roughly the same price as the metro had been in Paris so I did not feel bad about spending the money. I think we also walked enough during spring break to justify having a few treats each day.

I know this is not a completely fair comparison to transportation back home. The closest thing we have in Minnesota is the Light Rail or the public buses. I only use the Light Rail when I go to Twins games downtown because it doesn’t go anywhere I need to be on a regular basis. I also do not use the buses very often because they can be so unreliable and frustrating to use. However, if our public transportation in Minnesota was as easy and convenient to use as it was in these countries I visited, I would seriously consider investing in those instead of a car after I graduate next year.

Allison serves as an editor for The North Star Reports.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In three years we have published over 250 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports. Eleni Birhane and Matthew Breeze, Assistant Managing Editors, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, with generous support from The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Semester in New Zealand – Don’t Forget Your Snapper Card – by Matthew Breeze. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Semester in New Zealand – Don’t Forget Your Snapper Card – by Matthew Breeze. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

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[This is my bus pass, known as a snapper card]

Public transportation is a miracle, and a curse. Coming from northern Minnesota to a relatively large city in New Zealand where I must use public transit has been an interesting transition. Back home it is impractical to use public transport, because, well, there is no public transportation. My home was eighteen miles from my high school and fifteen miles from town. I always had a car to get to school and home from practice or events afterwards. Coming to college in Duluth I brought my car with me. The end result being that I have never used public transit or city buses in my life.

Then I arrived in Wellington. Wellington is the Capital of New Zealand with a population of around 300,000 people. This is a big city to me. My home town is about 15,000 and the Duluth metro area is not much more than 100,000. Not only was this the largest city that I have ever spent an extended period of time in, but I have no car. Luckily for me HECUA, the organization that I am doing study abroad through, has been kind enough to supply each of the students on this trip with unlimited bus passes. These bus passes are called snapper cards and each student must never forget to grab their snapper card on the way out of the door.

Learning to use the bus system here in Wellington took me some time. I did find a wonderfully helpful app, the Metro Transit app, that allows me to simply type in my location and where I want to go and it will give me three possible options of routes and buses to go from point A to point B. This works great when I have wifi, since I was cheap and did not pay for a New Zealand phone plan, but not so great when I am trying to get home from a pub on a Friday evening.

This means that I have become accustomed to deciphering the Wellington public bus schedules posted at each bus stop. I am by no means a master at this. I have missed buses, gotten off at the wrong stop, arrived early and late and everything in between. Luckily for me I have at least figured out how to consistently go to and from my classes and internship to my home stay.

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[This is a bus stop and a sign saying when the next buses will arrive]

I have seen some wonderful and strange things on the buses here. People are the most apathetic when on their way to and from work. Although Kiwis are incredibly friendly in it seems all other situations, they do not seem to wish to talk when on the bus. Each time I try to strike up a conversation with a fellow bus rider they always seem to want to talk as little as possible. I have not yet figured out why this is. That being said I have also seen people be what I think of as incredibly respectful and compassionate. Every time a person with a small child, or a pregnant woman, or an elderly person gets on the bus someone up front will without fail offer up their seat to that person. This everyday kindness is something that I think comes along with being in a small shared space like a city bus. People may not want to talk to each other, but they do want those who appear in need to be able to be just a little bit more comfortable, even if that means they have to give up their soft seat.

I also never realized how much freedom having a personal car was until I started taking the bus. I rely on the buses being on time and I am beholden to their schedule. When we drive ourselves places we have the freedom to go wherever we want whenever we please. This is not so with the buses as I am sure anyone who has taken a city bus will know. The worst thing is when a bus simply does not show up or is running late. This seems to be a rather large problem in Wellington. There have been multiple occasions where my scheduled bus simply failed to arrive or arrived very late. When I complained about this to my coworkers at my internship site they said that this was a relatively common problem. I can now see why some people supported Mussolini for saying that he would make the trains run on time (though of course, no one should support a Fascist leader).

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[The 14 bus to Wilton. Otherwise known as my bus home]

Although the buses may be late sometimes my experience overall has been extremely positive and makes me want to use more public transport when I get back to the U.S. I feel comfortable with taking public transport now. When I first started on the buses I was nervous, but now it is nice and I know that it is much cheaper than using my car to get around. The Duluth city buses may become the next chapter of my public transport adventures. Until then I will keep listening to my host sister’s advice, “Don’t forget your snapper card!”

About Matthew Breeze, NSR editor. I am a junior at the college of St. Scholastica this year and I am majoring in Global, Cultural, and Language studies with a minor in Spanish and a minor in political science. I will be returning to St. Scholastica in December. I am originally from Bemidji, Minnesota, but I have come to consider Duluth as my second home. I have a passion for politics and I hope to someday work for the State Department or the Foreign Service working in international relations in some way shape or form. I have always wanted to go to New Zealand. I have been to Canada and Mexico, but I really haven’t been anywhere different than the United States. The city in Mexico I was in was a tourist trap and Canada looks like my northern Minnesota home. I have a family connection to New Zealand as well as the general desire to visit. My grandfather was in New Zealand for rest and relaxation during World War II. The stories of his time in NZ have been passed down through the family and are one of the biggest reasons that I decided to do a study abroad semester in NZ.


Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In three years we have published over 250 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, with generous support from The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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A Semester in Italy – Venice, City of Water – by Sara Desrocher. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

A Semester in Italy – Venice, City of Water – by Sara Desrocher. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

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Last weekend I had the pleasure of visiting Venice, which has been on my ‘bucket list’ for years. I was very excited to visit this Italian city because of the well-known transportation system on the canal roads. I was expecting some canals and some streets but all of the roads are water. There are sidewalks in between buildings and piazzas where you can shop or eat but all transportation is water based. Cars and motorcycles are not allowed on the island of Venice, biking would be hard due to the bridges with stairs at the end of every path. The city is very condensed with narrow passages between the buildings, which the island is filled of. This makes the city a sort of maze; it is very easy to get lost. It is small enough that when you are lost, you can just wander around until you find someone to give you correct directions.

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First off, to get into Venice you can take a train or car across a large bridge to get to the city. To travel between the smaller islands of Venice or within the city, you need to take some sort of boat. These can be personal boats, water-taxis, water-buses or gondolas. It seems that many local people own boats, as this is the easiest way to get around if you are traveling to the other side of the city. You can see the small boats parked and tied up along the canals in the city. There is one main canal that is bigger and gives the option of taking a water-bus. The traditional gondolas are all around the city but do not travel from island to island. I rode in a gondola very briefly because taking it to your final destination would be very ‘spendy’.

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One of our days in Venice was spent exploring two of the smaller islands: Burano and Murano. To get to these we took a water-bus, which was a fun experience. First you buy a ticket or pass for a certain number of hours, this gets you through the gates and to your water-bus platform. When the bus arrives and is tied down, you are allowed to enter the floating platform to load the bus. The bus ride took about 45 minutes to one of the islands where we had to catch another water-bus to Burano. Seeing this island was my favorite part of the trip. It is known for it’s colorful houses and lace making. Each house is a vibrant color and no two neighboring houses are the same color. This island had a few canals running through the buildings with sidewalks running along the waterways.

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The other island we visited was Murano. This island is known for it’s glass blowing; this is apparent when walking along the main canal and seeing that every other shop is a glass shop. It is not hard to find a specialty of an area. For example, Venice is known for it’s masquerade masks and you can find them around every corner. Venice was full of tourists but it was nice to explore the neighborhoods off of the beaten path and see all of the sights that this unique city has to offer.

About our special correspondent Sara: I am a junior at St. Scholastica majoring in Computer Science with a concentration of Software Engineering. I am staying in a small town about 25 minutes outside of Florence, Italy with a HECUA program. My current studies are focused on Agriculture and Sustainability, which is very interesting to learn about in Europe. I chose this program because Italy has always been a place that I wanted to visit, mainly due to the fact that my great-grandfather came here from southern Italy. This is my first time in Europe and it has been quite the experience so far. I am excited for even more experiences as I gain a better understanding of the community!

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In three years we have published over 250 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, with generous support from The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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A Semester in Italy – Transportation – by Sara Desrocher. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

A Semester in Italy – Transportation – by Sara Desrocher. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

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Ciao ragazzi! I have been in Italy for two weeks now and after a couple of trips within the country, I finally feel that I am learning the tricks of how to travel in the country and I would love to share with all of you! I’ll start with bus transportation. The bus schedule is online and posted at bus stops, but I usually struggle with knowing which stop the bus comes to on which day. Last week a group and students and I stood at a bus stop for 20 minutes before a very nice man who didn’t speak English tried to communicate to us that the bus wouldn’t be coming that day. I find it best to stick to the main bus stop because the buses all visit this one and may not stop at the others. Make sure to go a coffee bar near the bus stop to buy your ticket before heading to the stop. It is cheaper and you will need exact change to buy it on the bus, that is if they do allow you to buy it on the bus. There is a ticket validating machine right beside or behind the driver’s seat, place your ticket into it to have it stamped as verified. When the stop is close, people tend to stand up and move to the front of the bus while it is still moving so that they can get off right away, the bus won’t be stopped for very long. Believe in your bus driver! The roads are windy and sometimes only big enough for one car but the drivers know what they are doing.

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Traveling by train is very similar to the bus system. Try your best to buy tickets online beforehand, I have saved as much as 5 euro. If you do this, make sure that you will have your ticket accessible on a phone or tablet to be checked on the train. Due to the lack of wifi, I screenshot my ticket before leaving my house so I can bring it up easily on the train. You can also buy a ticket at the train station; use a machine inside that allows you to buy them with a card or cash. You will receive a paper ticket, do not forget to validate the ticket before leaving the station building. I have found that sometimes they do not have validation machines out by the trains. I have only had my ticket checked on the train once, they either scan your screen for an electronic ticket, which is automatically validated, or they poke holes in the paper ticket. If your paper ticket was not validated at the station, you face a hefty fine. Also, if the doors don’t open at your stop, press the button on the door to be let out.

I have yet to travel by taxi because it is so expensive and Uber has recently been deemed illegal in the country, although I have heard that you can still find one if you try. Overall, it’s very easy to use public transportation in Italy but it might take a few tries to figure everything out!

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In three years we have published over 250 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, with generous support from The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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A Fulbright Teacher in Bogota, Colombia, A Special Series – Transmilenio — The North Star Reports – by Laura Blasena. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

A Fulbright Teacher in Bogota, Colombia, A Special Series – Transmilenio — The North Star Reports – by Laura Blasena. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

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When I found out that I was going to be living in Bogota for this school year, I immediately started googling Bogota and the Transmilenio. While Medellin, another major city in Colombia, has a famed Metro system, the capital of the country does not, and a huge chunk of the population relies on the Transmilenio bus system in order to get around the city.

(I even took the time to watch this rather corny video about how to use the Transmilenio. It’s surprisingly accurate about how to use it, but was completely inaccurate about the number of people you have to fight through at each station for a bus.)

There are actually three different public transport systems in Bogota, but they are often referred to synonymously under the umbrella term “Transmi and Sitp”.

First, there are the actual Transmilenio buses. These buses are my personal favorite, because you have to swipe your Transmi card to get into the terminal and, once inside, it operates much like a subway system, with various doors for different buses that have different routes throughout the city. The added bonus of the Transmilenio buses is that there are also usually police officers milling about in the station. This doesn´t do much to stop theft that occurs on the buses, but it does prevent vendors who hop onto the buses (selling anything from food to stickers to music) from getting to aggressive if somebody doesn´t want to buy from them.

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[Photo: This is what the inside of the terminals look like. At certain times of the day, they are so crowded you can’t walk through, but at other times of the day they are completely empty. While it’s certainly more interesting when it’s crowded, I didn’t want to risk having my phone stolen by taking a picture.]

The second type of public transport is the Sitp buses. These buses function much like the Transmilenio buses; you have to swipe your Transmi card to get into the bus and they have routes that the drivers are not allowed to deviate from. However, since these buses have to drive with traffic they are incredibly unreliable. I once stood at a bus stop for thirty minutes waiting for a bus that never showed up.

The third type of public transport are called “collectivos”. Like the Sitp buses, they are public buses, but they function as relics of a very old, confusing, and unregulated transportation system that existed before the Transmilenio system went through a huge period of regulation and change. These buses do not have scheduled stops—instead, you if you see a collective and you want to get on, you wave your hand and hope it stops to let you on. They do not have set routes. Instead, they each feature a plaque at the front of the bus with the names of neighborhoods that they drive through.

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[Photo: Red Transmilenios follow a very strict path. In most places, you have stand in one of the caged terminals, but along certain roads you can just hop on from the terminal.]

As a foreigner with very little knowledge of the neighborhoods in Bogota, I´ve avoided collectivos and have yet to take one.

The cards needed to take the Transmilenio are also particularly interesting. The majority of those of us who live in Bogota have red Transmi cards. I, however, have a blue card that was given to me by a professor who was in the process of leaving the university when I arrived. I have no clue where to get these blue cards, or if they are still given out, but the card continues to function so I will continue to use it. I´ve heard that certain cards will allow you to pay below the normal fare rate of 1,800 pesos (about fifty cents), but I haven´t ever been able to verify it. (I have also been told there are green cards. I don´t know what´s different about these cards or where to get them, but they apparently exist.)

About our special correspondent Laura Blasena: Ever since I was a little Kindergartner I’ve always wanted to be a teacher.

I graduated from St. Scholastica in the summer of 2015 with a double major in Elementary Education and Spanish Education after student teaching as a 5th grade teacher and also as a Spanish teacher at NorthStar in Duluth, Minnesota.

While my future plans before graduation were initially to become a classroom teacher, I decided to wait a year to begin teaching in the United States and have chosen to work as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Bogota, Colombia. In Colombia, I will be working with a university as an assistant in the language department, attending classes, running conversation clubs, and offering the perspective of a native speaker.

I’ve always loved to travel. In college, I participated in several study abroad trips, visiting England, Guatemala, and Mexico. (I loved visiting Mexico so much that I even went back a second time!). I’m looking forward to the travel opportunities that I will have while working and living in Colombia.


Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, The College of St. Scholastica and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal’s online learning community and outreach program with undergraduate and K-12 classes around the world. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

The North Star Reports publishes edited essays from our students, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. Students have reported from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, Colombia, Norway, northeastern China, Nicaragua, Micronesia, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, El Salvador, England, Finland, Russia, Cyprus, and Haiti. We also publish student reviews of books, documentaries, and films, and analysis of current events from around the world. We will post their dispatches, and report on their interactions with the North Star Reports students and teachers. We thank The Department of History and Politics and the School of Arts and Letters of The College of St. Scholastica for their generous financial support for The North Star Reports and The Middle Ground Journal.

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica.

Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Filed under Laura Blasena, North Star Student Editors, Professor Hong-Ming Liang

Getting Around: Public Transportation in Barcelona — The North Star Reports – by Katherine LaFleur. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

A special series. Getting Around: Public Transportation in Barcelona — The North Star Reports – by Katherine LaFleur. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

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[Photo 1: An example of my last T-10 TMB card, a rectangular piece of card stock with all the means of transportation that it can be used for listed along the bottom.]

As I ran down the stairs and jumped into the train just as the warning alarm began to sound, I realized how grateful I was for Barcelona’s public transportation system. Waking up late, while normally little more than an inconvenience, meant that this morning I would have had to sprint the mile that was between where I was and where I needed to be in less than a half hour. Perhaps if I was readily prepared with my running gear this wouldn’t have put me in such a pickle, but as it was, I was no where near equipped to run the mile to school in time for my 9AM exam. This is where Barcelona’s TMB system comes in handy.

With a fully integrated bus, metro and tram lines, Barcelona boasts a highly convenient public transportation system. With one ticket, you gain access to all three modes of transportation, which run the expanse of the city starting early in the morning and running late into the night – all night on Saturdays and some holidays. These TMB tickets are also useful when it comes to getting to and from Barcelona’s El Prat Airport, as both the high-speed buses and the trains that run the airport circuit accept the metro ticket as fare.

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[Photo 2: The ViuBicing corrals decorate the city streets near the popular stops, shown here is the line of bikes about a block away from my University, on my walk home.]

Apart from the three large modes of public transportation, Barcelona also boasts a huge cycling community. On almost any major street you will see strange bike corrals, home to the nomadic ViuBicing bikes that anyone can pick up, ride around, and drop off at will at any station around town once they’ve paid the annual fee. Barcelona streets have separate lanes for the bikers, and these bikers are a constant sight all day every day. Motos and scooters are also highly popular with much easier maneuverability through traffic and ample parking available on the extra wide sidewalks. And if any of these options don’t suite your fancy, there are always taxis to hail. Coming from Duluth, I’ve maybe been in a taxi twice in my life before coming to Barcelona. Here, though, taking a taxi is much more common and it’s definitely an option of ease if you have the extra 10 euro to spend (comparably, the same price as the 10-ride TMB pass).

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[Photo 3: Although there are so many different means of transportation available, I found that walking was my preferred method if my destination was <2 miles away and I had the time.]

Perhaps what surprised me most in Barcelona was how many people simply walk either part or all the way to their desired destination. A relatively flat city, (much different than the rolling hills of Duluth!) Barcelona offers miles of walkways and parks are sprinkled all over the place. If I was venturing anywhere within a mile and had the time to spare, usually the preferred choice was to walk – not only to save my precious TMB metro rides, but also because it’s quite enjoyable to be outside experiencing the life of the city. Pathways are a variety of old cobblestone or new pavement and especially in the Gothic and Born neighborhoods there are always more side streets to explore. The inhabitants of Barcelona, and in most other parts of Spain, spend a good deal of their existence outside of the house, so by walking your way around town you get the best idea of how the people really live – and isn’t that the whole point?

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, The Middle Ground Journal and The College of St. Scholastica’s collaborative outreach program with K-12 classes around the world. We acknowledge North Star Academy of Duluth, Minnesota as our inaugural partner school, and the flagship of our program. We also welcome Duluth East High School and other schools around the world. The North Star Reports has flourished since 2012. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

The North Star Reports publishes edited essays from our students, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. Students have reported from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing reviews of books, documentaries, and films, projects on historical memory, the price individuals pay during tragic global conflicts, and analysis of current events from around the world. We will post their dispatches, and report on their interactions with the North Star Reports students and teachers.

We thank The Department of History and Politics and the School of Arts and Letters of The College of St. Scholastica for their generous financial support for The North Star Reports and The Middle Ground Journal.

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal, Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN, USA

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org The NSR is sponsored by The Middle Ground Journal and The College of St. Scholastica. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact chief editor Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Filed under Katherine LaFleur, North Star Student Editors, Professor Hong-Ming Liang