CR vs Spain: Buses

20 Nov

I’m incredibly happy to report that the country in which I’m currently living has far superior bus transportation than Spain. In case you missed it, last year I harbored a strong hatred for the DAMAS bus company that operates in southern Spain. The passengers were crazy and the drivers and people in the ticket booths were often unfriendly. Those things I could deal with for cheap and pretty reliable transportation out of Huelva. But then one night I got dropped off on the side of the road in the dark because I didn’t know that the buses had different routes through the same small town (read the full story here) and from then on it was full-on hatred.

So I suppose it wouldn’t take much to top the bus service in Huelva, but the buses here in the Czech Republic are so much better it’s ridiculous. We use a bus company called Student Agency to get to/from Prague. I actually pay less to get from Karlovy Vary to Prague (two hours and change) than I did to get from Huelva to Sevilla (one hour). Once you convert the amount in Czech crowns to Euros it’s 5.25 euros for KV-Prague versus 8 euros for Huelva-Sevilla. So the first advantage here is that the service is cheap.

Then on top of the cheap price the service on the bus is super nice. I would equate the Student Agency bus lines to riding in an airplane. I’m not exaggerating. In fact, I think it’s nicer than flying with RyanAir or EasyJet. When you enter the bus (after showing your ticket to the bus attendant, the additional person on the bus that hands stuff out during the ride) there is calming classical music playing. And the seats are comfy leather chairs. Then the bus attendant comes around and offers newspapers to read. Of course they are all in Czech so I can’t enjoy that perk since my Czech vocabulary is roughly 30 words, with 20 of them being the numbers 1-20.

The bus is equipped with a bunch of flat screen TVs that fold down from the ceiling. They play ads for the first few minutes of the ride, then they show movies, usually American movies. The bus attendant comes around and offers headphones you can plug into the seat console. You can chose what channel you want to listen to the movie on, because they have the audio in English! (As well as in Czech.) So far I’ve gotten to enjoy “Must Love Dogs,” “The Good German” with George Clooney, and episodes of “Friends.” I’ve also suffered through “The Lake House” with Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves, but I took a nice nap in the middle of that one so it wasn’t too bad.

inside the Student Agency bus

I’m sure you’re already thinking, “Wow, Joanna, this sounds like a really nice bus. Can it get any better?” And the answer, amazingly, is YES!! Once the movie starts, the attendant comes around and offers you complimentary coffee, hot chocolate, or tea! And it’s tasty! Granted the cups are small, but it’s a free drink so you can’t complain at all. They also sell snacks, soft drinks, and beer.

So far there’s been a lack of crazy passengers on the Student Agency buses, but give it time and I’m sure they will emerge. On the plus side, I’ll be able to put on my headphones and watch a move in English. Toma!! (Spanish phrase for “yesss!!!” – one of my favorites from last year.)

The clear, clear, clear winner in this category is the Czech Republic, bringing the total to Spain 2, Czech Republic 1.

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