We were right next to a ton of awesome public transportation, and if I could bring something back to Chicago with me from Prague it would have been their transportation system. I walked a lot, because sometimes especially late at night the trams would go by packed to the brim. I usually wasn’t too far from the hostel and I felt a lot safer than I do walking around by myself at night in Chicago. But I did get lost once in Stromovka (a park near our hostel) and I worried about getting lost a lot. However it got to the point I easily understood the tram system and as long as I found one eventually I would be able to transfer and be home somewhat quickly.
Trams sort of scared me at first. They shared the road with cars, buses, bikes and pedestrians and sometimes I would hold on for dear life as we went down small corners or almost collided with buses. They run on something akin to trolly tracks that run through the city. The driver will also keep watch to see if anyone is rushing to catch it, to make sure everyone is on, and to see if people are moving to get off so that everyone can get off. Especially because people with strollers take awhile to get on and off. The usually, if the adult is alone will ask a person sitting towards the back for help getting the stroller off the tram. Children will even ride the tram’s by themselves.
I only had two bad experiences on the tram, one was due to the language barrier and the other one I just couldn’t understand. Both happened on a day where I decided to go exploring by myself because my classmates were too busy to go with me, that day just turned out sort of terrible all the way around. But I waited till everyone was sitting before moving towards an empty seat and a man who was already sitting got up, grabbed my arm and took the seat I’d been one second away from sitting in. I stood the rest of the trip completely confused. But outside of a few rare experiences I enjoyed riding the tram around Prague.
The reason though I want their transportation here is because at every stop for the trams there is a sign that is essentially a spreadsheet with the days of the week in Czech and then the number of the transportation that stopped there. In between the two was the times in military time and it told you exactly when the train was coming. It was just a piece of paper, a schedule, but the trams always showed up on time or close enough. It was amazing, I knew whether or not it was worth it to wait or if I was going to be late.
For the trains you would go into the station, go down the stairs since it is all underground and then get on the escalators. The escalators were the so interesting to me because we went so far down and it was essentially a giant wind tunnel the entire way. (Which was amazing on hot days) The trains were a bit confusing, but I enjoyed the look of each of the stations and tunnels.
There are no scanning or turnstiles to get onto any of the public transportation (If you get a month pass). You get a pass, either for the day or the month. (the laminated ones are month passes and they’re so pretty). Officers, not in uniform will board the trains or trams or buses and ask to see your pass. If you don’t have it, if you’ve forgotten it that’s when you get in trouble. But it’s mostly an honors system. If you get a day or ride pass that’s a different thing, but I only had one because a friend gave me his.
I didn’t ride the buses often, since the trams took me to practically the same places.
Dogs are really popular in Prague. Literally everywhere. There were a couple of times I was on the trams with dogs sitting at my feet or just lying on the ground. I never see any dogs on the public transportation in Chicago.