Sunday, June 30, 2013

Streetcar #2

Last week, after dinner with a colleague, we jumped on the #2 streetcar to get back to our neighbourhood. He had told me how to buy a busplus card and I had purchased a ten ride card at a newsstand at the bottom of the hill. The WC has a pretty extensive transportation network, and mastering it will give eminent domain, so to speak.

He told me that the #2 streetcar makes a big loop, so today I decided to ride it and see if there was anything to see. I waited for about five minutes, and, when the streetcar arrived, I scanned my card, although it didn't give me a readout of the stored value, as it had the other night.

The car was empty, but it filled up quickly, and by the time we got to the end of the line, it was SRO. Not much to see though, just a bunch of small businesses and ugly apartment blocks. It was interesting to notice that no-one else scanned a card, or did anything else that looked like payment. Are the buses free on Sundays? I wondered. Do only suckers pay?

Everyone got off at the end of the line and I waited for the driver to start up again. We returned the way we had come, and after we passed my stop, went through downtown and the old city.

We stopped at the train station, and I decided to get off and check it out. I figured that I had all day to get home, and that I could get back on the streetcar, bumble my way into familiar territory, or, worst case scenario, hail a cab and get home  for  five bucks.

Not much action at the train station. The board showed trains for Nis and Subotica, but it didn't look like many people were going there. I followed my nose through a non-descript area, and ten minutes later I was back downtown, in familiar territory.

Not much to report, except that the Animals, Jamiroquai and Fatboy Slim seem to have joined Whitesnake and Depeche Mode as artists who come to Belgrade now that their appeal has become more selective. I had downloaded Barenaked Ladies new album for accompaniment, and after listening to it, I think they may be ready for Kalemegdan soon. Odds Are is pretty catchy, and that's what prompted me to buy the album, but the rest was nothing to write home about.

I asked my colleagues about this. They said that, although some people have monthly passes that they can show to an agent if asked, the fact is that most people don't pay. Not the most efficient system. Why not just make it free for everyone, like Chapel Hill, instead of rewarding the scofflaws?

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