Unique & unusual public transports around the world
Transportation is one of the basic necessities of people all over the world. With the world becoming increasingly connected, the need to have corresponding modes of transport has also increased. While in some places technology is being used to make more effective and faster transports, there are some places in the world that have used their resourcefulness to develop unique transportation modes to serve their purpose. Some of these have also become symbols of their respective places and cultures!
“You can’t understand a city without using its public transportation system.”
In the following section, we look at some of the most unusual modes of transport around the world, that stand out not for their sophistication but their uniqueness.
HABAL HABAL, PHILIPPINES
Habal habal is a motorcycle modified to seat more than 2 people. In its simplest form, it has an extended seat protruding over the back wheel and can seat 4-5 people. The more complex forms can seat up to 13 people! They are used in areas with narrow roads and steep terrains, such as the mountains of Mindanao.
REINDEER SLEIGH, FINLAND & NORWAY
In the olden days, reindeer sleighs were a means of moving from one place to another in the snowy areas of Finland and Norway. Nowadays, they are used more for tourist rides. Speeds are moderate, making them suitable for all ages. An eco-friendly activity, the experience is magical!
HOUSEBOAT, KERALA & KASHMIR (INDIA)
Houseboats are boats that have been modified to serve as homes as well. They are common on the backwaters of Kerala and on Dal Lake near Srinagar in Jammu & Kashmir. The houseboats in Kerala are huge and were earlier used as means of transporting people as well as rice & spices. Now, they are used more for leisure trips. The houseboats of Srinagar, though, are usually stationary and moored at the edge of Dal Lake.
ICE ANGEL, WISCONSIN (U.S.A)
Ice Angel is an enclosed iceboat that is used to transport people over Lake Superior from Madeline Island (an island in Wisconsin) to the mainland. In summer, ferry is used to cross this route and in winters, the lake freezes thus forming an ice road. During the transitional stage however, the fan-powered 22-passenger Ice Angel is used which glides across the ice and doesn’t sink or capsize in water.
MONTE TOBOGGAN, MADEIRA (PORTUGAL)
Primarily used for tourism, toboggan runs are one of the most popular features in Monte, a suburb in Madeira. People are transported 2 kilometers downhill at fairly high speeds in large wicker baskets, conducted by two drivers.
Norry is an improvised rail vehicle that runs in Cambodia. The vehicle consists of a steel frame overlaid with bamboo slats resting on wheels. Powered by a small motorcycle or tractor engines, they deliver top speeds of about 50km/h. Despite their rudimentary design and lack of brakes & a formal operating system, they are quite popular due to their low fares and frequency.
FUNICULAR, KATOOMBA (AUSTRALIA)
Funicular is a cable railway running up and down a steep slope. The funicular in Katoomba, Australia is world’s steepest incline railway with a maximum incline of 52 degrees. Funiculars are also found in other parts of the world such as Malaysia, Chile, Israel and European countries such as Spain, Switzerland, Norway and Italy.
BARCO DE TOTORA, LAKE TITICANA (PERU)
Barco de totora or Caballitos de totora are dragon-shaped boats made from bundles of dried reed. Used over Lake Titicana in Peru, these boats have become an icon of Peru. These reed watercrafts are made and used by the Uros, a group of people living on self-made floating islands in Lake Titicana. The reed used to make boats are also used to make the islands!
SUSPENSION MONORAIL, WUPPERTAL (GERMANY)
The suspension monorail is an elevated monorail in which the wagons are suspended from a fixed track, built above street level. Started in 1901, it currently runs along a route of 13.3 kilometers and carries about 80,000 passengers every day! Similar suspension monorails have opened in Japan and Memphis (U.S).