Flawless transport in Berlin,a contrast to Nairobi

A bus picks passengers in a street in Berlin.Photo/Joseph Kariuki

With an area of 891 square kilometres one expects Berlin to have a nightmare transport system.But as these pictures show, Berlin’s transport reads like a page in  a fairy tale book.

Underground train

Passengers wait to enter a train at Seestasse. Photo/ Joseph Kariuki

In Nairobi where I come from it may take  you  an hour to cover less than four kilometres in the city.

By then, one has to go through a very noisy stretch with matatu(mini buses) touts shouting for passengers at the peak of their voices.

Then you meet a traffic jam just before Museum Hill roundabout that can sometimes take hours to beat.By then one is always left with a splitting headache or a foul mood that in many ways affect productivity at work.

Passengers fight for space in a matatu in Kenya

During the rush hours,the time most people leave work in the evening or early morning,there is always scarcity of matatus and buses and people fight to get transport.

Sometimes people are forced to use windows to enter a  bus.

The worst of times is when the matatus goes on strike for one reason or the other. Most people who are lucky enough will be forced to use trains for transport. And because the trains are few and wide apart then another circus crop up…people literary hung on train.

Over loaded train

Nairobi residents hung on a train during a matatu strike,due to poor transport systems people are left with no other option but to risk lives.

Having in mind the chaotic nature of our transport systems it was a different experience here in Berlin.

Last week we were informed that the train drivers will go on strike.

Being new in the city agroup of us journalists taking a course at IIJ  we were worried of how we will be in class on time in this big city.

In the morning,the strike D-day, we tried to pass by our train station and to our delight it was there. After arriving at the institute without using the costly taxis, we were  all full of admiration of  the transport system  in Berlin.

The city’s transport boast of a network of train transport,tram,bus and for those who have the money to spend taxis are there in plenty.With one monthly ticket one is allowed to use all the three main means of transport without any worries.

Transport in Berlin

A tram arrives at a station to pick passengers.Photo/Joseph Kariuki

Armed with a map of the city you do not need to ask anybody directions to a place. The transport route are so precise that it is a joy to visit places.

And that is why you will find visitors with maps trying to trace the way through this huge city.

For those who do not have maps they need not panic,throughout the city especially  on train termini there are maps all over the place. With basic understanding of German,very few old people like speaking English,you will get you way along the city.

Train transport in Berlin

A tourist studies a train route map in one of the under ground stations in Berlin Photo/Joseph Kariuki

Most visitors prefer the train because you can connect the routes easily  being underground you do not face the danger of admiring the city to the extent of forgetting your bus stop.

Being a tourist city Berlin has lots of attractions that include architecture and old roads built using stones that still remain a major attraction in the city.

Most weekends in the city are taken over by tourists for all over the world most with miniature cameras capturing the history of a city that was once divided into two during the cold war.

tourists in Berlin

Tour buses wait for visitor to take them around Berlin city,tourists always jam the streets of Berlin especially during the summer Photo/Joseph Kariuki

But even with a working transport system most Berliners are bicycle riders. A bicycle here is not a means of transport for the poor but a convenient way to go to work.

Whereas in Nairobi bicycles are seen as a nuisance and a dangerous mode of transport in Berlin its the prefered way to go to work and in the process people keep fit.

And because people prefer bikes to cars there are very few cars in the city. This has led to a smooth flow of vehicles in the city centre making the long jams experienced in Nairobi a forgotten experience here.


About Kenya Reporter

The other side of the news.

Posted on June 13, 2011, in Features, General News. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Nice and interesting story!

  2. Wow!What a piece i hope 2030 vision will take us there.Its a good getter way from the bustle and hustle of Nai enjoy and keep us updated.

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