Taking a break from my Bucket List series to discuss transportation in America. America is a country of vast opportunities and new horizons. While America is a world leader in several prominent categories, I have to say that we’re lacking behind the rest of the world when it comes to transportation.
Returning from Europe, I noticed one clear thing that was consistent with each Western European country that was truly hard for me to shake up. Transportation simply worked much better and did what it was supposed to do. Out of the many things that I noticed, here are a few things that I noticed:
Air Travel – Flying in Europe is convenient, but also affordable. I was amazed that flying from Germany to London via Ryan Air, was $50/one way. Traveling like that in America would be much more expensive, especially given that it’s considered international travel. Unlike Spirit Airlines in the US, Ryan Air had comfortable seats, served food, and really just provided a much better experience than what Spirit offers in an attempt to be a rival discount carrier. Most American’s resort to driving because of the expensive flight prices, but the approach to flying in Europe is different in Europe.
Rail/Subway/Light Rail – I can honestly only say that we have a handful of cities that can match the mass transit options that Europe has. Outside of the East Coast cities, Chicago, and San Francisco; most US cities lack a true mass transit system that connects a city and offers one the true ability to avoid driving. In London and Paris, I was able to hop on the London Underground and Metro, and really just get anywhere. I never needed to rent a rental car or catch a taxi. Outside of learning how to navigate between the various lines, each subway system provided me with plenty of options to make it to and from the many attractions in each city. Unfortunately in the US, it’s all about driving to and from locations, and then battling with parking fees and a crazy amount of traffic.
Cars – Although the US adopted the European approach to highways with using the Eisenhower Highway System, it needs some modifications. In the US, the highways have too many varying speed changes and an inconsistent flow of traffic unless you’re forking up the change and taking the expensive toll highways that are now occupying most booming areas of the US. The Europeans have a refreshing approach to using cars and the speeds on the highways. Instead of being restricted to slow speeds, high speeds are encouraged in areas, along with unlimited speeding areas as well.
In conclusion, the American approach of going bigger isn’t always better. While we love our humungous trucks and SUV’s, having multiple avenues of travel from within the city to other areas of the country would make for a much better traveling experience.