Public Transport Considerations: United States vs. Spain

Programs for this blog post

Teach In Spain Program

Authored By:

Melanie J.

In Spain, most people rely on public transport to get to their jobs and travel about the city of Madrid. Using the metro in Spain is easy once you get the hang of it, but I like it because I can use my Abono card to travel an unlimited amount of times using the Metro and Cercanias lines. Meaning, I can go mostly wherever I want within the Madrid city limits an unlimited amount of times when I pay a monthly fee. However, my Abono card was not easy to get. My Abono card took a full month to come in the mail, which is important to consider if you want to live in Spain full time. So, I had to spend extra money on public transportation while waiting for it to come in the mail which was not fun.

Compared to the US, traveling using the train everyday in Spain is a lot better than worrying about the rising price of gas and the general cost of transportation using a car everyday to go to work. Of course, I still have to worry about the time it takes to get to my job as a commuter who uses the train. However, I don't have to worry about traffic anymore. The main thing to worry about with commuting to work in Spain is train workers who may be on strike, so the train line may run on a more limited schedule. But, the best part of commuting everyday using a train is that I don't have to worry about warming my car up in the winter before I go to work.

Also, in my experience as a woman, I have felt mostly safe using public transport in Spain. This is really important to consider when traveling abroad as a single female. People are usually polite on public transport here and stick to themselves. It is common courtesy to listen to music and talk to people on the phone with headphones on. It is also mandatory to wear masks on all public transportation here in Spain. While riding the train, you can see all different types of people. Often you can see students studying for an exam, a couple getting groceries, or an elderly woman going to the city for the day. It is nice to see such a variety of people going about their days. 

Overall, shifting from using a car everyday to get to work to using public transport everyday has been a big change in my life but I really like it. I like the reliability of using trains and how easy it is to get around Madrid when I have my Abono card. Plus, you get to encounter so many different types of people on their own journeys. 

Hasta luego,