NOTE: Due to the current coronavirus pandemic, I discourage you from actively going around especially by public transportation. Only take this article as handy information to get to know further about public transport. Always keep up to the latest news, practice social distancing and, more importantly, maintain your hygiene.
Going around by public transport may not be the first option you have in your mind. No doubt, going around your area by your vehicle provides you the freedom to go anywhere or anytime you want. But there are certain issues like the lack of parking space and fuel costs which may not favor you.
What if you want to get away from the hassle of your maintaining your vehicle and the need to drive every time by taking public transportation? Yes, you can! But before that, does your area have a public transportation system? If so, how can you get to know the routes and timetables, or even where to hop on or off?
Search on Google
What will you do when you don’t know to do certain stuff? Yup, you will resort to Mr. Google. Same thing if you are inquisitive with public transportation. You can use the search terms like “public transport [area name]” or “getting around [area name] without a car”.
In the example below, I typed in “public transport penang”, meaning I want to search if there is any public transportation in the areas of Penang. While I typed in the phrase, I noticed some suggestions which are related to what I’m looking for.
You can click either of the suggestions if you want to, or just hit the enter button to see further results. You can see the most relevant links on the first page of the Google search.
If you can see the Google search result above, there are a number of relevant links, as well as questions regarding public transportation in Penang, such as
“How do you get around Penang?”
“How do you pay for the bus in Penang?”
With that, you can click any of the questions to reveal the answers, which then will lead you to the link provided in it.
Same thing when you use the search phrase “getting around [area name] without a car”. Again, when searching “getting around Penang without a car”, the result shows relevant links that explain to you ways to go around without the need to drive a car.
Easy? Great! Here’s the next way I would like to show you:
Look through Wikitravel/Wikivoyage
You might be heard of Wikitravel before, but not exactly Wikivoyage. Basically, both are sites that host so many travel guides, covering almost all places around the world. If you can’t afford to buy a travel guide book, then these sites should be your companion.
For the differences between Wikitravel and Wikivoyage, you can check out this article.
Both cover country-specific guides, from getting in the place to getting around, as well as other sections including safety precautions. The “get around” section, in particular, is the most useful if you want to know the possibilities of going around your area with public transport.
Keep an eye on the “get around” section when you search a specific city or area on Wikitravel or Wikivoyage. You can also read through the whole page from the top to the bottom if you want to get to know further. But for this example, I’m focusing on the “get around” section.
When clicking the “get around” link, it will lead to that section within the page, which normally look like this:
You can see that the section explains in detail how you can get around the area by walking, by bus, or other available means of transportation. Within the explanation texts, there are a number of citations and in-text links that you can click further if you want to know more about specific information.
Bear in mind though that the explanations on the page can be outdated, so simply take it as a starting guide. If in doubt, ask a local or anyone encountered in your area.
Another way of finding out if your area has public transportation or not is to browse through Wikipedia. While most people would go to the site to get to know more about specific information, it is also an indirect way of getting to know the transportation sector in your place. You can even read the history of transportation as well as the modes in that single section.
Usually, in any country-specific or city-specific Wiki pages, there is the “transportation” section which explains in detail the history and current transportation system available there.
Similar to Wikivoyage and Wikitravel, you can click the in-text links and citations if you want to know more about any transport operators for example.
Alright, I’m going to show you the last one. Here we go:
You may never hear of Moovit before. It is a personal journey planner app for public transport which allows you to plan your journey just like how you would do on Google Maps, but this one is for planning by taking any public transportation modes.
Moovit covers major cities around the world, and you can check out if your area is covered in the app too. If so, you can explore the public transportation routes in the app instantly.
When you download the Moovit app, you can select the country where you live in, and then choose the region or area you reside.
That’s it! It is easier to get to know if your area has public transportation. It can be overwhelming at first especially if you have no idea where to start. I hope that this article would be helpful for you in planning your journey and going around your area using public transport.
I would recommend using Moovit to navigate around and plan your journey using buses, trains, or any other means of transportation. Don’t know how to use the app? Click here to download my guide!