10 Unusual Types of Public Transport Around the World
When On Earth, 17 December 2014.

If you travel to another country, don’t always expect that there’ll be cabs, trains, or buses available all the time. Sometimes, it’s rare to see those vehicles. Instead, the locals may be using to their own version of public transportation. So why not try them out? What’s odd for you can be quite an unforgettable ride that you won’t experience anywhere else.

Here are 10 of the unusual types of public transport around the world:

1. Traghetto in Venice, Italy

Photo Source: BugBog

Venice is known as a pedestrian city. It’s also known for its canals. So how do you go from one place to another if you’re tired from all the walking? If you’re not bothered with a baby carriage or heavy luggage, then you can take the traghetto (ferry) by following the yellow signs to the nearest landing. Each boat is rowed by two oarsmen - one at the bow and one behind the passengers.

2. Ice Angel in Wisconsin, USA

Photo Source: Madeline Island

In Wisconsin’s Apostle Islands, only one island is inhabited and that is the Madeline Island. You can visit this island from Bayfield in the mainland by ferry during summer and by winter, it turns into a two-mile highway when the waters of Lake Superior freeze over. But when the ice is not strong enough to support a vehicle, the Ice Angels - ice boats with air propellers - are used for service.

3. Bamboo Train in Cambodia

Photo Source: Jade Johnston

The Cambodian bamboo train, locally known as nori, is a bamboo platform powered by an electric generator engine. It is perched inches above the railway tracks and it can travel up to 40 km/h. It is a cheap way to travel around Cambodia but don’t expect a smooth ride while you go through unmaintained railway tracks.

4. Monte Toboggan in Madeira

Photo Source: Tunliweb

Monte toboggans were once the main mode of transportation for the locals of Madeira who wanted to go downhill to Funchai. This is not the case anymore nowadays as more tourists are now enjoying the ride as an extraordinary experience to spice up their trip. The two-seater wicker sledges glide on wooden runners, pushed and steered by two men traditionally dressed in white cotton clothes and a straw hat. They use their rubber-soled boots as brakes.

5. Jeepney in the Philippines

Photo Source: Manelle & Morgan

When the American troops pulled out of the Philippines at the end of World War II, surplus jeeps were left and the locals stripped them down and added roofs for shade. This vehicle has then transformed into a vehicle for public transportation. It is still used and still the popular way to go around cities.

6. Longtail Boat in Thailand

Photo Source: N3074Echo

The iconic boats of Thailand, longtail boats, were originally used in the canals of Bangkok. But even though most of the canals were replaced with roads, you can still ride on one if you’re traveling around towns outside Bangkok or if you’re heading to an island. Their slim structure makes it easy for travellers to cruise down the canals.

7. Songthaew in Laos

Photo Source: Kristin Johnson

The songthaew literally translates as “two rows”  taken from the two benches fitted along the sides of the truck. It’s originally a pick-up truck transformed into a public ride that can be either used as a shared taxi service or run as a bus-like service.

8. Dog Sleds in Alaska, USA

Photo Source: Alaskan Husky

Dog sleds are real and not only limited to Christmas movies. It may look like a smooth ride in the  movies but in real life, it can be bumpy and full of noisy dog barks. If you want to try riding on a dog sled, better go during the months of January to March when thick snow is guaranteed to carpet the road.

9. Barco de Totora in Peru

Photo Source: genuinno

In Peru, there is a group of people called the Uros who use dried reeds (totora) to create the iconic Barco de Totora (totora boat). This ride is the best and most enjoyable way to cross the water if you want to visit Lake Titicaca.

10. DUKW in London, UK

Photo Source: Bissetphilip8

The DUKW (pronounced as “duck”) were trucks designed by the American military during World War II. These trucks were used to transport equipment and troops over both land and water. Nowadays, you can still try this classic ride while experiencing the amazing sights of London through London Duck Tours. The tour will drive you past London’s famous landmarks before it launches into the River Thames.

Top image: Toyota i-ROAD electric vehicles. Source: Joe.ie.

[Source: When On Earth. Edited. Some links added.]

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