Falkirk Wheel, Panoramic view.

Falkirk Wheel, Panoramic view.
Image by Cameron Lyall, GNU license Wikimedia

20 July 2011

A Clockwork Orange (And Buses) Re-Resucked

"A human being is endowed with free will. He can use this to choose between good and evil. If he can only perform good or only perform evil, then he is a clockwork orange - meaning that he has the appearance of an organism lovely with colour and juice but is in fact only a clockwork toy to be wound up by God or the Devil." - Anthony Burgess in "A Clockwork Orange Resucked"

The subway system in Glasgow is simple and straightforward. One simply hops on and travels around its solitary loop. There is no complex mapping system, like the London Underground, and the everyone can figure out how to get from one destination to another. The simplicity and thoughtlessness of traveling round and round, is what Burgess was referencing in the previous quote.

Public transportation in Glasgow is not bad at all though.

The subway may just run in circles, but visitors and residents can choose to reach their destinations in other ways, like using the variety of routes provided by the bus system. Truely postindustrial public transport systems are easy to figure out and complimentary in design. Glasgow's subway and bus systems are both simple, but offer travelers a variety of destinations around the city.

My interpretation of postindustrial public transportation is having multiple methods of travel that are simple to use. "The Clockwork Orange" subway, is idiot-proof, which is good. The engineers and designers who chose the stops and mapped the route made sure to make it circular, simple and convenient. Similar in its simplicity, the Glasgow bus routes are linear and easy to map.

Within my day's visit to Glasgow, I took the train and bus systems, while also walking to reach the Riverside Museum. It's bus system gives travelers more choice in routes to travel.

Of course, one can always choose to walk or take a cab, which makes the city's transport system more postindustrial, but I digress.

Glasgow's public transportation systems' use simple routes, making them effective maps of the city. Yes, one may feel a pseudo-lack of free will when traveling around in circles while on The Clockwork Orange, but that does not mean that a lack of travel options was present.

On the contrary, Glasgowegians have a decent amount of choice when considering methods of public transport to take advantage of. They are also lucky enough to have systems that are easy to figure out.

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