As what my friend told me before, the best way to get lost in a new city you are going to travel to is through subways. Thanks to my natural wit and charm, I do not have to get lost even once. At first, there was this scary feeling when I tried the Tokyo Metro. As of writing, Tokyo Metro is the busiest rapid subway in the world. Having researched enough how tricky these subways can be, I carefully read the maps and learn the subway by heart before I even tried it.
So, are you going to ride a subway system? Or, is it your first time to try the subway in that country? Are you going to ride the metro for the first time alone in a new country?
The thought of getting lost is kind of a big worry one can ever experience. For instance, the New York subway system has the most number of stations around the world running on 24 hours 7 days a week operation. Additionally, this subway system has an uptown or downtown route. If you have not study carefully the map before buying your ticket, you may find yourself on a very different place. So, what if you are traveling alone, you do not know anyone in New York and then you get lost?
Worry Free Travel
For you to have a worry-free ride here are the things you can do to have a smooth sailing subway experience:
Read before you take the ride. Whenever you embark on a trip to a place totally new to you, you have to do an intensive reading. Do your research very well. Every subway or metro rails around the world may have similar system but in order to be specific (and be sure!), read the one on the country where you are going to. If you have a manual map, put marks on the places you are going to and the origin of your destination. That is how usual navigation works. Start from your original spot and you can go from there.
Use your resources. Maps may sometimes be outdated. With every month, you may see new building constructions everywhere and the building plotted on the map may not be there anymore – that is getting lost already! If you have GPS on your phones, you can use that. Google Map will always be sufficient either view from the top or the zoom feature. You can also look at the street maps near or in the subway itself. If all else fails, ask around You may approach the guards in the subway or the police roaming around. There is also an information desk you can always ask.Pay system. Most of the subway systems around the world will let you either pay in cash or billed to your cards. Here are some of the tickets you can use:
One ride ticket
One day ticket
7 day ticketStudent ticket
1 – 3 months ticket
These are the majority of tickets you can use. In other countries like Germany, these tickets may also be use in trams, trains and buses. It is like their all-in-one ticket for transportations.
In Vienna, honor system is used. You can pay for the ticket you are going to use without crossing any barrier or validation. Many tourists think that they can get away with the honest pay system. Unfortunately, there are times that an officer will get in the subway and check your ticket. If you do not have one, then they will give you a huge fine plus they will oblige you to pay for the price of the ticket. You will end up paying more once you get caught.Have your tickets validated. If this one is required, please do so. If you have been using your ticket for quite a while (for instance, a 3 months validity ticket), you may lose track of how long you have been using it and its expiration date. Some subway system will allow you to check the status of your ticket through its own ticket status check monitors. With other subway systems, once you swiped them to pass through the barrier, it will validate the ticket. Once you were able to pass through, it means your ticket is still valid. Otherwise, you may have to check it with the ticket counter if there are any other issues with it.
There are subway systems that have separate interconnected trip that requires different tickets/passes. Best example would be the one in Germany. They have what they called the S-Bahn and U-Bahn. If your trip will use S-Bahn from point A to B but from your B to C trip, you are going to use U-Bahn, you will need to buy separate ticket/pass for this. Otherwise, you will be asked to get off the subway first, buy the separate ticket before you can continue your trip to point C. You do not want that kind of inconvenience, do you?
Extra precaution with the kids. If you have kids just starting to walk or fully dependent on you to go up or down the stairs, this might not be the most suitable ride of all. With the steep stair steps, it is scary in case you trip off and you are carrying a child. In case you have another one to help you with this ordeal, then it would be fine to take the subway. On the other hand, if your child is old enough to walk, you can use the subway. Just make sure they are within your watchful eyes. Subways are the busiest transportation place. If you get careless, they can get lost easily. In addition, kids that is less than 6 or 5 (it depends on a subway system) or lower than the door barrier, are usually free. One thing I noticed as well, you can get a seat right away when you are with a child. Most passengers will give their seat to you and your child. Well, I do the same thing most of the times, too. Speedy travel. It may not be the most pleasant ride you will ever have. But as for me, I consider it as the most convenient of all – in terms of speed. I mentioned the ‘not pleasant’ part since you will see most of the subways to have vandals anywhere in the station and even inside the train itself. As for the convenience part, it is still the fastest way for me to get to my next destination. You only need to know it by heart. If you know where you are going, you can reach your destination in as fast as 10 minutes (or less!).
These are just the basic thing you need to know when it is your first time to ride the subway system. Fear not as long as you know how to go around the subway system. Once you get to know it, you will consider it as one of your enjoyable trips just like I do.