Travel Stories & Good Memories – Public Transport

We’ve been doing a short focus on public transport on the DanVenture Travels Instagram account & it got me thinking. Endless travel stories come from public transport. Then again, based on how busy things can be & how many people you come into contact with, public transport can be the source of countless stories in general.

While a trip can be cheap & efficient (based on where you are), things can also go pear-shaped very quickly if you don’t know how something works or you don’t speak the language. A touch of this happened to a friend & I when we got on a bus in Jordan & didn’t know how the system worked & neither of us spoke Arabic. Although our experience ended in a comical exchange with a kind stranger, not knowing where you are can be terrifying.

When it comes to public transport, a memory that is burnt into my brain is an experience I had in Shanghai with my great & wonderful friend, Sue. I told this story in a previous blog post, I’ll include it here. On the average workday (pre-pandemic), over 10 million people will use Shanghai’s metro. I can’t possibly explain to you what it is like using this metro at peak time. It is crowded. The trains are overflowing with people & the stations are so packed that if you don’t have a tight grasp on the person you are traveling with, you will be separated from them & good luck getting back to them. If you think I am exaggerating, there are actually reports of numerous injuries & a death caused in these crowded metro stations. All of this & people laugh at me when I say using public transport in China during rush hour is like an extreme sport.

On one of my first days in Shanghai, Sue & I were going somewhere during this busy period. I was unprepared. Getting on the first train was fine, but then we had to change lines at a busy station. The train slowed to a stop & I saw hordes of people pressed up against the glass doors ready to spill into the train. Sue quickly grabbed my wrist & held my arm tight against her. The doors opened & it was mayhem. The sea of people was pushing us further inside the carriage. It seemed like our bodies were being picked up & moved backwards against our will. I remember having to almost fight our way out. Sue got a foot on the platform first & pulled me out of the train. I don’t know what would have happened if we weren’t holding on to each other. As soon as we were in a quieter area, we just looked at each other & burst out laughing – to the point where we were actually in tears. I think we were in such disbelief at what had just happened.

There are also times when you’ve done your research & bizarre things still happen. This happened to my brother & I in India when a taxi door opened as we zoomed around a corner. My brother came very close to falling out. On the same trip, we had a taxi driver fall asleep at the wheel.

These are just three out of endless memories I have. I’m certain you have ones of your own, it would be wonderful to hear them!

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Keep traveling, keep safe.

DanVenture Travels

12 thoughts on “Travel Stories & Good Memories – Public Transport

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  1. You’re so funny calling “public transport in China during rush hour is like an extreme sport.” I laughed at that.
    Must have been something.
    But I think the population in China is a whole digit higher than in other countries. (I’m thinking Higher than USA)
    Very funny story, this. Thanks. So glad the memories were good. Thanks for sharing. Clap

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  2. Enjoyed reading this!
    And yes, I’ve had experiences of my taxi door opening at a turning and a driver falling asleep!
    Taxis and their drivers are much overworked here. No time for proper maintenance for the vehicles and no time to catch up on enough sleep for the drivers!
    Really sad.

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  3. Once we landed in the jungle on an Australian peninsula on the way to Darwin. Only natives got off the plane. The stop was not on the itinerary and we could not find any taxis. A bus driver explained we would have to go on board again.

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  4. Love it. Shanghai’s metro sounds like an experience!

    I have a ridiculous metro memory, a little closer to home:

    I was making my way through London a few years ago towards St Pancras Station, and headed down in to a tube station, wheeling my suitcase behind me.
    I confidently strolled up to the ticket barrier, tapped my card on the reader, and walked through the gate – at which point the gate closed firmly on my suitcase as I wheeled it through, trapping it there.
    Now holding everyone up, in a moment of panic I tried to pull the suitcase out of the barrier, but ended up bending the handle and somehow braking one of the wheels.
    Eventually I was rescued by one of the staff who was not impressed at all! 😂
    I picked up my suitcase and carried it by hand across London and then across Paris 🙄 Nightmare.

    This is what happens when us country folk head in to the big cities 😂

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  5. Mind boggling Dan. Thankfully never experienced this myself although I’ve used public transport in several different countries. Then again, I have never been to China or India. Thanks for sharing, your pieces are always very interesting. Blessings Peter.

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  6. The trains in Tokyo can be similarly packed, but the Japanese do follow a certain order and lining up to get on does work, unlike in China where every interchange is a pushing mob! Enjoyed this story.

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