Will I Ever Need a Car Again?

Good public transport systems are key to sustainable transformation.

Individual car transport is an obstacle for sustainable transformation. We need better mass transit.
Why do some people put up with this voluntarily? Image by Gerhard G. from Pixabay

So I started a new job at a school. Which means I have to commute.
I am going to let you in on a little secret. I never commuted before. With all the jobs I had, I was living within walking distance. I only owned a car for about one year in total. I never needed to transport myself. And if I did, it was usually for the job, which allowed me to use company cars.

So, having to commute is a new experience.

I have been rambling on about more than once, why we need collective solutions.

I believe that collective transportation is an utmost necessity. At least if we should ever have a shot at true sustainability. Individualized motorized transport is never going to move us past the goal post.

This new experience of having to commute proves my point. A public transportation system can eliminate the need for a private car. If it is designed well, that is.

Berlin is not even the city with the best public transit system. I can see lots of areas, where it can be better. But in my case, it is good enough to give me zero incentive to own a car myself.

How Does the Transit System in Berlin Work?

A U-Bahn station in central Berlin.
Image by Jcornelius, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Let us first have a quick glance at the public transportation system of Berlin. There are several modes of public transportation. You can find detailed maps here.

  • S-Bahn. A system of local city trains. They run mostly above ground on elevated tracks. Sometimes, they share the same tracks as regional or long-distance trains. There are 16 lines, and a total of 168 stations. 36 of those are outside the city limits. The one I use to get to work is one of them.
  • U-Bahn, which is the metro system of the city. It has been in existence for more than 120 years. Currently, 175 stations exist. These get served by a total of 9 lines. Some stations serve as hubs, which also serve the S-Bahn.
  • Trams are also central to the transit system. The tram tracks are usually embedded in the roads. In GDR times, it served as the backbone of the transit system. Most lines are still operating in the north and northeast of the city. Currently, there are 808 stations.
  • Buses. Do I need to say more? The bus lines often serve as intermediary routes between transport hubs. Or areas that are not served by any of the other systems.
  • The biggest transit operator has started a collaboration with shared mobility services operators. It allows you to rent e-scooters, bikes, e-bikes, and even cars from the same app. In most areas of Berlin, there are bike paths. But it is no comparison to cities like Copenhagen or Amsterdam.

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My Name is Alexander Benesch, but it is okay to just address me with Alex. I am from Germany but have spent more than half of my life in Denmark, where I have been teaching special needs students, among many other activities. I write about education and teaching, provide tips for teachers and lesson materials, and blog about educational technology. I also offer my tutoring services via the blog. I am passionate about teaching and I have many thoughts and opinions about pedagogy, education, and social issues. I believe that our education systems need a major revolution to be fit for the challenges that humanity faces in the 21st century. That is why I decided to write about it.

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