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This topic will have a huge effect on European transit. The ability to use one single payment card regardless of which transport network you are using makes it much easier to access the transit network itself. At the moment people spend hours searching for low air fares or cheap train travel between two cities only to then blow the saving on a taxi from the airport or station to where they are going. For Europe you won't have to go to the Bureau du Change first to switch currencies (I'm thinking Swiss and UK travellers here!) and THEN buy a ticket. In the future European Rail will benefit as passengers can simply begin on a bus, jump on light rail then get onto a train, travel acros Europe, get a metro and get to their destination all via the use of one card. I expect we will see either VISA and Mastercard coming to their senses soon to back such a scheme to cash in on the handling fees, or a seperate external body appear who's logo we will see on the cards and systems to identify and advertise compatibility to the user.
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@Amanda @Brisbane The bus network is indeed centred on Almere Centrum heavy rail station although away from the centre the suburbs also get regular (every 15 mins) buses direct to Amsterdam's Business District. The driver for this is most probably that there are no direct rail services to that part of Amsterdam from Almere. It is interesting to note that for these direct services the Highway/Motorway between Almere and Amsterdam has also been adapted to ensure the bus has priority and access at certain rush hour choke points. @Brisbane Almere is set to grow as you point out, with new bus lines and a new rail station under construction. However the areas that have been settled already (Almere Haven) won't be expanded and therefore we can assume traffic will not grow substantially at the junctions. @Nicolas Barnard While in Almere the buses use only the dedicated bus way routes and as yet don't turn off onto the side streets. @23skidoo I agree, but perhaps stop spacing/top speed is a factor? By contrast when Amsterdam city council decided to build IJburg (a series of reclaimed land islands just outside the city, where I live!) they decided to install a tram line despite there being only one route. This is set to be extended when other new islands are built as part of the same project. Future population and tram capacity I think is viewed as the reason for the choice. However they had to dig a special 2km tunnel between Amsterdam and the island for the tram PLUS one for the road traffic, as opposed to choosing a bus network and have the bus use the road tunnel which would have been cheaper one imagines. Thanks for all the comments!
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Oct 29, 2010