First thing that come to my head when we were thinking about going to Kyoto was…….yes, that famous global green initiative milestone called the Kyoto protocol. Who wouldn’t and I was actually wondering will the city be what it has lent its name to.As the airport limousine bus travels away from the Kansai Airport, which was built on man-made land, I can’t help noticing that all vehicles are moving smoothly at cruising speed. You don’t see over zealous speedy Gonzalez aka fuel wasting. Our bus driver skilfully regulate the acceleration and de-acceleration well according to traffic conditions. Further fuel saving measures, the bus was also equipped with LED fixtures and AC temperature was comfortable, though a bit warm that what we were used to.Reached Kyoto, and wow! Just outside Kyoto station, there is a smoking point. A designated smoking point keeps the rest of the area literally smoke free. And with it, synonymous with smokers, the cigarette butts, none that I can see littered on the streets. Some streets like the shopping belt in Shinjo are completely smoke-free. One can get fined for smoking. As a tourist, it may not be too easy to know, where smoking is allowed and not. Thank god, we’re not smokers. Public transport is big in Kyoto. Got to love the city bus the most. It was punctual. We can just walk up to the timetable information board at any bus stop, check the scheduled arrival time for weekday/Saturday/Sunday and the bus will pull up at the bus stop the exact moment. No need for bus arriving in 1 minute kind of thing and another 3 minutes for bus to actually pull over the bay in Singapore. This punctuality and reliability of the public transport system will naturally reduce citizen desire for car ownership. We also love the fact, bus drivers do actually turn their engine off while waiting for the light to turn green and while loading/unloading at crowded bus stops. Not too sure if this saves fuel, but definitely reduce carbon emission. It makes waiting at the bus stop more bearable, as compared to having 3-4 buses all emitting carbon monoxide simultaneously, like we get in Orchard Road.Retailers, mostly operate up till 8 or 9pm, reducing need for lightings.Cool business attire initiative seems to be taking off well in preparation for the upcoming sweltering summer. We see it everywhere in malls, advertisements and news report of government agencies wearing Hawaiian shirts to work. Looking “kawaii” indeed. Needless to say these cool attire, such cool attire who needs AC?
Bicycles are everywhere.
Wider pavements and a generally flat city makes cycling convenient and comfortable for cyclist, pedestrians and motorists too. We rarely see them cycling on the roads. How wide is wide, generally about 2 cyclists and 2 pedestrians. The cycling parking points are well equipped with stand, lock and coin operated. These can be found in subways, bus stations, malls, schools, offices and temples too. As such, we can actually meet cyclists on their way to work, dating couples, kids in baskets, many in their smart suit and ladies in high heels.
I was taking the train to the newly opened Gapyeong Station (2nd day of operation). It was in Seoul, late 2010, when I saw this: A full size 26″ hardtail bike onboard the train. Probably the MTB was on its way to rough out the trail near Nami Island.
If we could have this allowed on our SMRT trains…bliss. Imagine a Sunday morning train ride to Pasir Ris, onwards the bus to Changi Jetty, ride the waves on the bumboats and cycle away at Pulau Ubin for a Sunday adventure.
Definitely not going to happen though, a taxi ride to Changi would have cost SGD$25-30 easily. Multiply that with 1 bike per taxi. A $100?The train? Forget it. Every single train is packed like sardines just fished out into the boat. And the government is planning to bring in more. Not more trains or more bicycles…but more people. Sigh.Us at Nami Island