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Looking for a break from your daily commute? Check out these interesting and unique public transport systems around the world.
Transportation has always been an essential part of any trip, but why not take it up a notch? Instead of taking a regular bus, metro, or boat, make your trip even more memorable with one of these exciting and unusual forms of transportation.
We’ll go over some of the most interesting types of public transportation, including cheerful yellow taxis in the form of coconuts, exciting Shinkansen speed trains, wooden sleighs clocking in at 25 mph (40 km per hour), and much more.
Fasten your seatbelt and hold on tight as we embark on a thrilling journey!
High-Speed Shinkansen Train in Japan
Traveling around Japan is incredibly convenient and fast, thanks to Japan’s Shinkansen (bullet train) network. These super-fast trains reach almost 200 mph (320 km per hour) while still providing passengers comfort and safety.
For example, a trip from Osaka to Tokyo via Shinkansen train takes only two and a half hours, while the journey would take at least six hours by car.
In addition to saving time, Shinkansen trains offer comfort that takes train travel to a new level. The Shinkansen network covers the entire mainland of Japan, and most trains have an on-board meal cart selling ekiben (a bento box with various dishes), as well as large windows and comfortable seats.
Cable Cars in San Francisco, CA
San Francisco isn’t the only city in the world that uses cable cars for public transportation, but taking one in The City By The Bay is an unforgettable experience.
The city’s iconic red and gold cable cars were first used in 1873 and are still utilized for their intended purpose—climbing those steep San Francisco hills. There are three cable car lines: the California Line, Powell-Mason, and Powell-Hyde, with the most scenic option being the latter.
Taking a cable car in San Francisco is an absolute must-do, as travelers are treated to stunning views of San Francisco and the bay while making their way uphill.
Vaporetto in Venice, Italy
Venice, Italy, is an exciting city: instead of highways, there are canals; instead of cars, there are gondolas; instead of buses, there are Vaporetto. Vaporetto is a long boat with a roof and seats (a type of public waterbus) and is the main form of public transport in Venice.
There are a total of 19 Vaporetto lines that travel to different parts of Venice, and the Vaporetto has the hallmarks of a typical public transportation system: there are clearly-marked stops and stations, each Vaporetto line has a timetable, and travelers need to buy a ticket to use this waterbus.
Few experiences capture the essence of this city as beautifully as a scenic journey along its canals aboard a Vaporetto.
Monorail in Wuppertal, Germany
If you’ve ever dreamed of riding a flying tram, here’s your opportunity.
The Wuppertal Schwebebahn (suspension railway) is one of the most unique forms of public transportation in the world. The first train began operating in 1901, and the modern-day railway has a length of 8.3 miles (13.3 km) and 20 stations that pass throughout the length of the city.
Interestingly, cities like Berlin, Munich, and Wroclaw turned down the original design, with only Wuppertal agreeing to install it. Nowadays, more than 25 million passengers use it as a means of public transport annually.
Amphibious Bus in Nijmegen, Netherlands
Now that we’ve talked about flying trams, how about floating buses?
Instead of boring buses or dull ferries, the city of Nijmegen in the Netherlands devised a better idea: an amphibious bus. The Amfibus, as it’s officially called, functions both as a bus and a ferry thanks to a mix of impellers and wheels.
These buses can reach up to 50 mph (80 km/h) on land and 6.5 knots in the water, making them perfect for The Netherlands’ roads and canals.
Sani Monte Toboggan in Madeira, Portugal
On the island of Madeira in Portugal, there is a type of transport you can’t find (or ride) anywhere else: the Monte Toboggan sleigh.
These traditional sleds are usually made of wicker and wood and can hold up to three people. Once travelers sit in the ‘basket,’ they are pushed down the hill and steered by two carreiros (sleigh drivers) dressed in traditional costumes and thick-soled shoes designed for breaking.
The original means of transportation dates back to the mid-1800s, when locals would need to get down the steep hill from Monte to Livramento. The two-kilometer ride (1.2 miles) takes about 10 minutes, and the baskets can reach speeds of nearly 25 mph (40 km/h).
Coco Taxi in Cuba
Don’t be surprised if you see colorful yellow coconuts whizzing past you in Cuba—those are the Cocotaxis.
These cheerful rickshaw-type taxis can be found in major Cuban cities like Havana, Varadero, and Trinidad and are the unofficial version of their yellow taxi counterparts. Cocotaxis can hold up to two or three passengers at a time (depending on the seat configuration) and are typically made up of a fiberglass body and internal combustion engine.
Articles Related to Exploring Using Fun Means of Transport
Editor’s Note: There are many other interesting means of transport as you explore the world. Try a tuk-tuk in Bangkok, a funicular in Budapest, a chairlift in Porto, Portugal, an ice boat to Madeline Island in Wisconsin, or even the Barco de Totora boats made of reeds in Bolivia.
Experiencing Fun Means of Transport as You Travel
One of the best parts of traveling is experiencing life as the locals experience it. One of the best ways to do that is to use public transportation. As you travel, you will often find fun means of transport, from the yellow coconuts in Cuba to the bullet trains in Japan, the world awaits! We invite you to explore Wander With Wonder for more of our favorite destinations and let us know some of your favorite means of transport you’ve discovered in your travels.