Commuting in Sweden

While I was in Sweden there were a few things I noticed as I used public transportation and wondered around.

First, I sure noticed the tickets.  Wondering around in a new country is exciting and gives you the first idea of what is going on. Just before you start discovering all the secrets the city can offer on foot, you have to buy a ticket from the airport to move around. Don’t avoid buying a ticket because it will cost you more! You have some options here.

  • Download the mobile app so you can buy tickets online. I would not suggest it unless you really need it for some reason. It is kind of expensive. It lasts for 75 minutes and you can use it anywhere.
  • Get the special offers they give you at the airport: day pass, three-day pass, 1 week pass and a month pass. What is a real surprise though is how expensive the tickets are! As of 9/1/2017 the prices are the following:
    • 24 hours: SEK 120 (adult fare); roughly 12 euros for adults
    • 72 hours: SEK 240 (adult fare); roughly 24 euros for adults
    • 7 days: SEK 315 (adult fare); roughly 31 euros for adults
    • 1 month 
    • More details here fares&tickets from the official website
transportation-card
Paper version ticket

There is also a discount but you have to find out if there are any limitations about age, profession etc.

The first two options are based on a paper version pass. If you are planning to stay longer than few days, you get a plastic card. I can’t help it and compare Sweden with Taiwan. In Taiwan, all passengers either have cards or receive a small plastic re-usable token that they leave behind every time they exit the station. Using paper tickets in 2017 is not very sustainable and makes me wonder how much paper is wasted. Why should we use paper since there are so many other options? Greece is left behind also,even though I have to admit that after I returned from Japan I found out there is an app nowadays! For the Greek people, check this out.

Enough about the tickets! What about the trains and buses? There are some things I would like to share! I have to admit that I was super impressed of the trains because they make no noise at all! And I mean it! I don’t believe that they are soundproof because I could hear the cars etc. If you ride the train in Sweden, you will never hear the old time classic noise that all trains make. The train tracks are made in such an awesome way that you don’t feel them connecting and also there is no turbulence during your trip. Some people may miss the sound that makes you sleep in long journeys but it made me excited! I was riding in the future! Most of the trains, including the double-deck ones were brand new. Quiet, clean, combined with nice design. That’s what I am talking about! There are some other companies with older designs and old-looking trains that make some trips around Sweden, but even there I didn’t feel  anything during my trip.  And that I say with much confidence since in Japan you can clearly hear that noise unless you are riding the bullet train (Shinkansen – 新幹線).

Subway and regular trains are really long. Many people come and go in the main stations so if you are tired be prepared to enter fast. I didn’t see any rules applying so sometimes you have to squize yourself in. Not as bad as Greece, that you are not able to get out of the train because people want to get in, but don’t be indolent. If there was something I would change is the … drivers! Actually it’s not entirely their fault. They were trained like that but still…. they are lacking common sense! As fellow 9gagers would say: WHY YOU DO THIS??? The drivers put full power to accelerate and also full power to decelerate. There is no middle way, there is nothing soft. Either full speed or stop like your life is in danger. It’s really really hard to ride the train and keep a standing position. There is no explanation what so ever, why the drivers act like that. Legend has it that they drive their cars with the same way…

train
Train from Arlanda to Stockholm
subway
Subway

Buses are almost the same. New, clean, convenient and so on, but you can not stand on your feet easily. Some late night buses were better, maybe due to less traffic and less stressful driving conditions. Trams are the most relaxing and regularly the slowest means of transportation in Sweden. If you want to go slow with the flow… take a tram!

Cars and bicycles are in one category because I consider them an expense you are willing to make. What I found out is that if you want to ride your bicycle you must have tires with spikes so you can ride with ease. Most of the time there will be snow and / or ice on the road. Bicycles use a special road that is half the sidewalk. There are clear marks on the sidewalk, so you know where you walk and where you ride your bicycle. About cars, I found out that Swedish people have to buy tires with spikes during winter time and have normal tires for summer time. There is a special announcement on the news when the drivers are supposed to change. Heavy fines are expected if you don’t follow the law, plus an absolute risk of getting involved in an accident. Another mystery I couldn’t solve is that Swedish people love station wagon cars. I don’t know why. Is it just a trend? Do they want to carry their house whenever they drive around? Are they obliged to do so, by something? One day I will find out.

Last but not least, Sweden has Uber and Taxi services. Uber is everywhere. People take you around, fast, with super luxurious cars and with no questions asked. They keep their mouth shut and let you do your thing. I think Greek taxi drivers should learn a thing or two. Not only the services you receive are great, you can also give your feedback about your driver. Check out Uber and they also have an application so you can download it. First time is kind of free till a certain amount of money / certain distance. Check it out! Highly recommended!

 

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