Cable cars in San Francisco
In fifth position is a classic. When one mentions San Francisco, it is impossible not to think of the cable car, this train from another time that goes up and down the city’s dizzying slopes. It is an integral part of San Francisco's heritage and has become part of the collective imagination, highlighted by films and photography. This is an essential and authentic public transport system.
Jeepneys in the Philippines
In fourth position are the famous jeepneys in the Philippines. In the aftermath of the Second World War, the USA, which had militarily occupied the territory, left their jeeps behind. These abandoned jeeps found a second life, becoming a public transportation system. Functioning as buses, jeepneys are impressive vehicles with bright colours and other types of decorations. If you go to the Philippines, you’ll be able to see them coming from miles away!
Totora reed boats in Peru
In third place are the totora reed boats in Peru. Along Lake Titicaca, on the Bolivian border, the Aymaras and Uros Indian communities use the totora, a plant cousin of the reed, which can grow up to 10 feet high, to build their boats. These boats are reliable since the totora reed is very resistant to water and very strong when braided.
Bamboo train in Cambodia
In second place is the bamboo train in Cambodia. A few miles from the city of Battambang, the railway tracks seem to be deserted. However, stations scattered all over the region testify to their activity. When there, you can see bamboo boards propelled by boat engine passing by. This means of transport was used to take workers to repair damaged sections of track. Today, the ‘bamboo train,’ or norry, is a rather touristy activity, and travellers agree that the experience is worthwhile.
Escalators in Hong Kong
And the gold medal goes to Hong Kong's escalators. Yes, these are indeed public transportation systems, allowing people to move from one building to another without putting a foot on the ground. There, it is not uncommon to find that the streets are lined with footbridges and escalators to make it easier for locals to get around. As the centre of the island is partly covered by mountains, these strange means of transport are very useful to climb the slopes without having to expend any energy (but watch out for when they malfunction!). The longest of them is more than 2,600 feet long!
How about you, have you seen any unusual means of transportation?