Transportation

Bus 72 in The Hague (Or: An outdated sign)

Just a sign I came across while wandering around The Hague:

Outdated bus 72 sign in The Hague

Let op! spelende kinderen = Caution! Children playing

It looks like the kids spent their entire time outside throwing a ball at that particular sign, considering how dented it is…

Underneath you have a sign for bus 72, a temporary bus stop. It goes on to say that bus 72 replaces tram 6 and tram 12 for certain areas of the city during ‘wintery conditions’. Luckily we are now in April, so I assume we won’t be having any more ‘wintery conditions’.

Take down the sign and bring on spring!

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New metro station (Or: The Hague to Rotterdam)

As of yesterday the new metro station at The Hague’s Centraal station is ready! It connects The Hague with Rotterdam via metro line E. Marco and I were waiting for a bus to Wassenaar so I took some pictures from a distance:

New metro station at The Hague Centraal

The white tunnel form definitely reminds me of the design near the Beatrixlaan station. And another one:

New metro station at The Hague Centraal 2

Maybe Marco and I have a good reason to finally visit Rotterdam now. I think the last time I was there was for a WWE wrestling show… But that was three years ago, so I am sure I have been back since then. Right? 🙂

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Ride free with tram 11 day (Or: HTM flyers and ice cream)

Yesterday HTM had a promotion to ride free with tram 11 so that you could experience the new Avenio trams. So far tram 2, 11, and 17 ride with the new model. 11 has had the new model for a while, but considering the route is from Station Holland Spoor to the beach (stop Strandweg), perhaps they were waiting for better weather. And we definitely had awesome weather!

Tram 11 coming around the corner (actually at the beach, so this photo was taken on the way back):

Tram 11 by Strandweg HTM The Hague

A promotional cover over the machine you normally use to check in and out. It says ‘Travel today for free’.

Ride free with tram 11 day June 2016

Continue reading

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Public service announcement (Or: I love trams)

(Public service announcements, or PSAs. Basically messages that are freely distributed to the public because they are in their best interest.)

Trams rule! I never realized this while growing up in the US because there wasn’t much public transportation around. Or when there was, it was just buses, and I am not as big a fan of those.

Here’s the birthday card Roger made for me. Front cover – a look at the Avenio trams, the newest model. Some of the tram lines have started to use them (2 and 11) with 1, 9 and 17 next. You can just make out the top of the tram where he edited the sign to say “Niki’s birthday”.

Tram themed birthday card - front

Inside you can see a map of The Hague (at the very bottom), and then a tram service schedule on the left side, with a picture of an older, yellow tram sign you would find at a stop on the right. Roger even added a picture of gourmetten in the middle since that’s what we ate on my birthday. Finally, in the middle you have a look at the tram lines throughout The Hague.

Tram themed birthday card - inside

And a look at the two books that I currently have checked out from the library:

Two books about trams in the Netherlands

The larger book is a photographic history of trams in The Hague since 1945 (until 2011). The smaller one is a non-fiction book written by a journalist who spent a year working as a tram conductor in Amsterdam.

I love trams. No interest whatsoever in driving them, but I love reading the latest news. Try htmfoto.net or HaagsOVforum.nl. The first one includes way more than just tram stuff, or even HTM stuff. There’s a lot of old pictures of the city to lose yourself in.

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Hop on, hop off (Or: New tourist tram in The Hague)

In June of this year, The Hague will begin a hop-on, hop-off tram service aimed at tourists (Article: English | Dutch).

From the English article: “The Tourist Tram, in historical cream with a green trim, is launching in June. The route connects the historic city center, the planned museum district around Lange Voorhout, the Vredespaleis and the Kurhaus together. It will also travel through the international zone, the Gemeentemuseum and Omniversum and go all the way Scheveningen.”

Tickets will cost 14 euros, or 18 euros per day, while kids under 12 can ride for 5 euros for two days. I thought that was a bit pricey considering a day ticket for HTM (The Hague’s bus and tram service) costs 6 and a half euros per day, but it looks like this tourist tram includes an audio tour which is in several different languages, including Haags (The Hague’s dialect). The route also links together a lot of tourist hot spots, so you only have to board one tram and you don’t have to research all of the routes. That could be a big plus for tourists.

Den Haag tourist tram

The tourist tram that will start running in June (photo: Maurice Haak / Den Haag)

The tram is mainly intended for the summer months, traveling every half hour between 09.30 and 17.30. After the summer, it will only be in service on weekends or holidays. Hopefully it is a good enough investment that they can expand service a bit!

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Holiday trams (Or: Tram 1 in The Hague, 2015)

This year HTM in The Hague decked out a tram for the holidays. Here is another look at the tram, showing off the lights at night (a picture in the daylight can found in this blog post). Tram 1 runs between Scheveningen and Delft.

2015 holiday tram 1 in The Hague

Last year HTM placed a piano at the Spui tram stop.

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Bikes all around (Or: Advertisements for bike parking)

The Hague currently has an issue with the amount of bikes it has lying around, especially in the city center. Over the last year or so The Hague has opened a handful of new bike parking areas, including under the public library. Future work will be done at The Hague’s two train stations (Centraal station and Holland Spoor).

One of the more crowded areas in the city center is by Hema, where the amount of bikes has doubled over the last few years. The city has started putting free bicycle covers on every bike in the area for advertisement purposes:

Bikes in The Hague

It says “Put your bike in a free, guarded bike park”

Each bike also gets an advertisement on one of their handles, complete with a map of the nearby free, guarded bike areas in the neighborhood.

Bike seat cover in The Hague

The trick is that it is free for the first 24 hours – if you do not remove your bike at the end of the day you need to pay to get it back. This in theory prevents the rider from using the area as a free storage area for a few months (only in theory, as some people just never come back for the bike).

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Really? (Or: THAT is extreme weather, HTM?)

Marco and I were recently waiting for the tram. While waiting, we had a look at the information posted at the stop. They had recently added in a poster about tram and bus service during “extreme weather”.

I don’t know – would you call this extreme weather?

Extreme weather sign in The Hague

Perhaps it is the fact that I come from Chicago, where extreme weather would be, at a minimum, a foot of snow (30cm). But even then, there is a good chance of getting a foot of snow in any given year…

And here you have “extreme weather” being labeled as a dusting of snow! Insane Dutchies.

And another festive note, tram 1 decorated for the holidays:

Tram 1 decorated for Christmas, The Hague

(Pssssst. No snow to be seen!)
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Guide dogs (Or: Superheroes at the tram stop

Marco noticed this advertisement when we got off the tram a few days ago. I figured I had to take a picture for my mom, since Spiderman is played by a papillon (the breed our last two dogs were). Papillon translates to “butterfly”, referencing the butterfly shape of their ears.

Guide dogs advertisement at tram stop in The Hague

It’s actually an advertisements for guide dogs. The text translates to “You can recognize the real superhero by their outfit”. The campaign is run by KNGF Geleidehonden

The other photo we took was of the uurnet card dispenser machine – €3.50 for a 1 hour card. A bit expensive, but that’s the point – they prefer that you have an OV-chip card instead. You can find these machines on the randstad rail trams (2, 3, and 4). The other tram types require you to buy a ticket from the driver at the front of the tram.

HTM uurnet kaartapparaat buiten dienst

Of course, the joke is that the machines on the randstad rail trams are almost always out of order. As it is in this photo. It’s a bit hard to read but the main text says “Apparaat buiten dienst”, or Machine out of order, with the line translated into various languages below that.

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Trams and fireworks (Or: Luckily not at the same time)

I seem to be on tram kick lately. Let’s see, some incidents this week:

1. There’s a place in The Hague where you have a pole right next to the tram rails. That is not a problem at all for the tram – obviously the distance was factored in. However, what do Dutch like to do when they see a pole?

You guessed it. Place a bike against it. Or two actually in this case. The tram driver drives really slowly, really carefully, but manages to hit the bike. So that means she has to get up and open the door just to move the bike. (Note: some other guy on his bike riding past got off his bike just to help her move them.)

2. This afternoon a biker wanted to turn right. No problem – the tram also had a curve where it turned right as well. Except there isn’t much space at the side of the road in the curve, and you quickly run into a stack of bikes on the sidewalk. Not much room to manuever. So of course the tram passes the biker and turns right, but the biker keeps going in the turn as well, causing the tram to have to slow down to almost a complete stop. (Last I saw the guy gave up and biked into what little space there was on the sidewalk to get out of the way.)

3. But the craziest – this morning. I was in the tram heading to work and there was a garbage truck on the right side of the road. The tram was again in a turn, this time heading left. I was in the last compartment and had a great view of the garbage truck. I remember thinking “Wow, he’s really close by. But as usual there won’t be an issue.” After the garbage truck passes out of view I hear a loud screeeeeech as the garbage truck’s side mirror slashes against the body of the tram – and then a loud thud as the mirror (I presume) falls to the ground. Eep. The tram didn’t stop, either.

Another story, not quite tram-less:
Last Friday Marco, Roger and I went to the fireworks festival in Scheveningen. It happens over two weekends – Friday and Saturday and Friday and Saturday of the following weekend – and you always have two countries every night “competing” for who has the best fireworks. I left competing in quotes because I have never seen the results of the competition. The night we went was Italy and then The Netherlands.

Fireworks festival in Scheveningen

Waiting on the boulevard for the Italian fireworks to start. You can see the boats with the fireworks in the distance on the water.

At first I thought the Italian fireworks were better… until I saw the Dutch finale! Quite nice. But then we had a lot of trouble getting home. Of course it was a mad house at the tram stop. Waves upon waves of people pushing trying to get into any available tram, and we were too far down the tram stop to get into a tram (three trams went by and still nothing by us, for instance). Eventually we got into bus 23 which at best would take us to the Laan van Nieuw-Oost Indie stop. Not too bad, but still a hike to get back home. The bus was very crowded, though.

Of course, things aren’t that easy. Marco says he now knows why they put a limit on the amount of people allowed in a bus – because ours got a flat tire not too long into the ride. Eek. Luckily this was somewhere near Madurodam’s stop so we were able to hitch a ride on tram 9. There was a tiny, tiny bit of space for us to jump on in the middle of the tram. Of course some guy took offense to me wanting to hold on to the bars in front of the doors (he was standing on the steps by the doors) and so he kept squashing my hand with his butt. My hand was so red afterwards! You’d think he’d realize the presence of a foreign object and not be so rude, but oh well… I chose to keep my mouth shut, so I’m also to blame.

And right now it’s pouring. Ugh. Byebye what little summer we had. 🙂

Wow… I believe that I have angered the rain Gods with that comment. Right after typing it the sky just turned a sickly bright orange. Scary…

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