Every day after school I cross the road with my friends. I take a left turn and they take a right. And then, I prepare for my long journey home.
Since there’s no regulated bus schedule, I never know when it’s coming; it could be two minutes or it could be 20. So I put my headphones in and try to find someone familiar also waiting for the bus. I put my backpack on the bench and sometimes take a book out. Other times I just stare off into the distance and wait for the agitation of the people around me that signals the bus’ arrival.
I spend thirty minutes on the bus, depending on the traffic. Then, I take two different trams. In total, it takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes to get home—a journey which is only 12 kilometers. In contrast, when my parents drive me in the morning, it takes 10 minutes.
Since Romania hasn’t made significant infrastructure changes since the start of communism, the transportation system is only falling behind. So for now, many people, including myself, rely on these methods of transportation to get where we need to go. Here’s a look at my daily journey.
Here, as I wait for my tram, I capture its motion at the station I go to every day. A glance at the purpose of public transport: movement.
Outside looking in, you can see that the atmosphere is pretty dull, with most people staring into nothingness, waiting to get to their destination.
A man smokes inside of the tram. Long after he leaves, the smell of stale smoke remains.
The beer can left by the man in the previous photo. An attempt to make his experience more pleasant, while making the journey more unpleasant for others.
The presence of people has slowly become integrated into the trams themselves. Little scribblings, dried mud on heaters, all there to stay with time.
Students and elderly rely on public transportation and receive special cards, which allow them to travel free of cost; however, if not validated, they get fined.
High traffic can result in trams getting stuck when there isn’t a barrier for the railway. Unfortunately, there is not appropriate infrastructure for public transportation within the city—leaving tram patrons to sit in traffic, beside cars.
Stations like the one in Pipera don’t provide any rain or wind cover. In this moody image, I shot this huddled in a coat… pretty miserable.
Tram drivers often resort to working additional hours due to the low salaries. Recently, there has been a strike regarding this, with all public transportation suspended for five days.
Trams, trolleys, and metros use electricity, potentially helping in the shift to greener transportation. The sunset over Lake Tei is a reminder that there is hope for improvement.
People entering and exiting a tram at Obor station. With everyone rushing to get to their next destination, feelings of anxiety hover above the crowd.
Rather than a destination, my house is just like any other stop. After I get off the tram, I know that I won’t see any of the faces again, but the route will be the same. And I get to see it tomorrow, not expecting any changes.