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Quirky Public Transport Facts

By Bidvest Bank
Commuting is part of life, but how people get from place to place varies greatly around the world. Where economic prosperity and infrastructure can lead to high-speed trains in some countries, lack of development or tricky geographic conditions in others means transporting yourself around at a slightly slower pace. From the sturdy to the rickety to the downright dangerous, here’s a roundup of quirky public transport facts from around the world.  

• When travelling by canal taxi in Bangkok, passengers are occasionally required to ‘duck’. A combination of fluctuating tides and low bridges makes it necessary for boats, as well as their human cargo, to crouch to avoid collisions. 

• In 2015 the word’s first hydrogen-powered, zero-emissions street trolley tram opened in Dubai. The hop-on, hop-off transit system connects tourist attractions, malls and hotels to make exploring the city more convenient and sustainable.  

• A cross between an old school bus and a truck, the camioneta de pollos or ‘chicken bus’ is a colourful mode of transport used in several Latin American countries. These extravagantly decorated vehicles not only welcome locals and tourists but occasionally live animals and chickens too. 

• Travelling through the shallow waters of Botswana’s Okavango Delta requires the assistance of a mokoro – a dugout tree trunk – powered by the skill and strength of an expert. Experienced oarsman, familiar with the local terrain, glide these canoe-like structures through the river-bed, not only getting you from A to B but also providing an unrivaled vantage point to take in the tranquil scenery. 

• With only four bridges over its 3.5 km stretch, Venice’s Grand Canal calls for cost-effective crossing and locals use something called a traghetto. Although remarkably similar to a gondola, this boating experience will set you back much less than your typical gondola ride. 

• The world’s longest-running hovercraft journey travels between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight. It is the only commercially available hovercraft experience left in Europe. Although capable of travelling over water, land, mud and ice, hovercrafts are operated by pilots rather than captains, and so are considered more of an air than marine vessel.

In Wuppertal, Germany, an elevated train runs for 13.3 km, 12 metres above the River Wupper. Launched in 1901, the monorail is the oldest electric elevated railway with hanging cars in the world.  

• No one likes an uphill journey home. Fortunately for Hong Kong’s inhabitants, a moving footpath does all the work. The Central-Mid-Level Escalator system links the city’s central district to its elevated residential neighborhoods. With a vertical climb of 135 metres, the system is 800 metres in total. The journey lasts 20 minutes, which many speed up by walking. 

If you’ve got a journey of your own on the horizon, Bidvest's World Currency Card™ provides an easy and convenient way to enjoy the ride.  Allowing you to preload up to 17 currencies, the card gives you peace of mind by offering a fixed exchange rate, round-the-clock customer support and added protection, no matter how bumpy the road may get. Find out more today.