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Munich’s Colorful U-Bahn


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In theory, a mass transit system should just be about getting from Point A to Point B, hopefully quickly, safely, comfortably and without having some drunk guy try to talk at you. Unfortunately, as anyone living in any city knows, public transport all too rarely achieves those simple goals . The mere fact of a city having subway system, however, achieves something more than even the most well-managed bus service. Having a subway means that your city is in the big leagues, like London, New York and Paris. In Scotland, the citizens of Glasgow will forever pour scorn on the citizens of the country’s capital, just 45 miles away, because, for all its majestic beauty, Edinburgh does not have a subway. Glasgow’s subway is tiny and its route is a simple circle serving just a few parts of the city, but none of that matters: all that matters is that Glasgow has a subway while Edinburgh does not and, for that reason, Glaswegians will patiently explain to you, in all seriousness, that Edinburgh is, essentially, a village and the people who live there peasants. So, the citizens of Munich can be proud that, like all great cities, they have a subway and it is called the U-bahn, short for Untergrundbahn, meaning “underground railway” – no-one can accuse the Germans of not being straightforward. Even better news is that, as subway systems go, The Munich U-bahn is pretty good. As you can see from the map below, it consists of 8 lines and 96 stations, stretching throughout the city.

More importantly, the Munich U-bahn is well-maintained and, as you can see in the gallery beneath the map, the authorities take the effort to make the stations visually interesting. Safety: The Munich U-Bahn is currently considered relatively safe although you should bear in mind that, as Germany’s most southern major city, it received a disproportionately high number of migrants during the 2015 crisis. The plan is to disperse most of them to other German states and to house the ones who remain in Munich but, at the time of writing, the system is still struggling and you may encounter some migrants sleeping in the city’s main train stations. This is not, in general, a problem, but please bare in mind that they may not be accustomed to seeing people who are drunk in public and, if you are female, try to dress in a manner that is culturally sensitive to the place of woman within Islam. Personally, when I go out clubbing with my friends I like to dress up, so, now, instead of catching the U-Bahn, I avoid upsetting our city’s new guests by getting a taxi into the city center. You can read more about how the city has adapted in the article “Munich and the Migrant Crisis”.

And, to finish, here is a short but rather interesting video shot in the Marienplatz U-bahn station: