By Abbey Newhouse
When it comes to getting to places like Conde Nast in Madrid, the beach in Barcelona and Rossiro Park in Lisbon, International Media students of Point Park University had no trouble using the Metro or taxis or walking to destinations during their time in Spain and Portugal.
The use of pubic transportation is very popular and inexpensive in the cities of Madrid, Barcelona and Lisbon, where the Point Park students visited for two weeks. The metro, bus and taxis are all common ways of getting around in each city for a low cost, and there is always one way that is free: walking.
Madrid public transportation consists of 13 Metro lines and 170 bus lines. One ticket costs under two euros, and there are passes for unlimited usage during one, two, three, five or seven days. Buying a pass is very simple; pay by cash on a bus or pay by credit card or cash at the machines in the metro stations. This is very similar to the process of buying a metro ticket in the United States.
The Metro runs from 6 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. This makes the Metro very convenient to ride during any part of the day. The frequency is fast and reliable, and most rides in the central part of the city vary between 2 to 5 minutes.
“Our second day in Madrid, we took the metro to Conde Nast,” said International Media student Bryn McClay. “It was different at first because the signs were in a different language, but luckily Mauricio, our tour guide, was there to guide us.”
While riding the Metro always hold on to your bags in case of pickpocketing. Luckily, during the International Media trip no one faced any problems with that. The class had their eyes on their bags at all times after a reminder from the Metro intercom to stay clear of the petty crime. Other than being aware of your surroundings, the Metro is a safe way of traveling and easy to access at an inexpensive price.
“If I am not in a hurry, I take the bus because it is less crowded, but if I am in a hurry the Metro is the one to take. It is much faster,” said tour guide Mauricio Macarron Larumbe.
While visiting Barcelona, depending on the neighborhood, the Metro and walking are the most common ways to get around for tourists.
The metro covers mostly all of the area, and tickets are purchased at machines or ticket offices located in the Metro stations.
A single ticket costs 2.50 euros, but if you are planning to ride the Metro multiple times, the best option is to buy a T10 ticket. A T10 ticket will give you access to 10 rides on the Metro for 9.95 Euros. There are always two entrances to the Metro, so when exiting always know which way to head in order to avoid backtracking.
Like Madrid, the stations are very clean and always busy with people. And discounts are available to large groups. For instance, because the class consisted of 21 people (with Jan and Mauricio) they were able to ride the metro to Passeig de Gracia to eat dinner for 1.20 euros a person.
To catch some scenery, walking is always an option. Walking around the streets of Barcelona is a great way to experience the lifestyle, artwork and entertainment such as street performers and living statues that fill the streets. But, watch out for street vendors who will try and sell whatever they have to you. Most restaurants will have employees stand outside and sell their menu or street vendors will try and sell you knock off “Ray Ban” sunglasses called “Roy Bons.”
“For the most part, I walked everywhere. We stayed in a touristy area, so there was a lot to do within walking distance, including the beach and shopping,” International Media student Dana Bohince said. “While we walked, I was able to buy a beautiful painting from a local artist.”
The transportation system in Lisbon includes a variety of options: Metro, taxis and trams. But metro system has only five lines, so compared to Madrid and Barcelona it is very small. The Metro is the most common way to get around because it is the most efficient according to goLisbon. The metro runs from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Old trams add to Lisbon’s unique charm and are a must to ride while visiting Lisbon. If you want to enjoy the neighborhood of Bairro Alto, catch the tram to avoid the walk up the steep streets.
An additional way to get around the city is taxi. Even though, it is more expensive than the Metro, it is a reasonable price.
While in Rossio Park area, International Media student Liz Meckel carried her hotel address card, available to all students in every place the students stayed on the trip, so she could give one to her taxi driver on the way back to her hotel.
But using the Metro there has its advantages.
“I would suggest riding the Metro because you get to participate in the living of the city,” said Cinta Fernandes, an intern at the Portuguese public broadcaster RTP. “Also, you can experience the better landscape and culture for a cheap price.”