Learning patterns/Short-distance travel
What problem does this solve?
How can safe and short-distance travel to events be arranged?
- For general information about travel planning please see Grants:Learning patterns/Arranging travel.
What is the solution?
This advice applies to travel from bus terminals, airports and train stations that are near to the location of the event and/or near to the accommodations for attendees. This section is also relevant to local or regional events where ground transportation is sufficient.
- Charter bus service or charter van service may be preferable to public bus services in some circumstances. However, in many cases, public bus service or local public rail service may be adequate.
- Stretch limousines and vans, with their large capacities, may be more cost-effective or convenient than taxis in some circumstances.
- Private or rented automobiles may be an option, including the possibility of carpooling.
- Short-distance rail service may be available.
- If a number of attendees will be arriving at a location like a bus terminal, airport, or train station, then try to have local guides be present with identifying signs or t-shirts. The guides can welcome the guests and provide directions. Consider offering pamphlets in multiple languages with directions, transportation information, contact information, and emergency information (such as the local phone number to call for emergencies, 24-hour contact numbers for relevant accommodation venues and for the event organizers, and the locations of nearby medical facilities.)
Some safety tips for using taxis, buses and related services are available in these locations:
- Stay safe guide on Wikivoyage
- 8 Travel Safety Tips for Public Transportation by travelinsurancereview.net (external link)
Traveling by taxi
Taxi service can be much more expensive than bus service, but in some times and places, bus service is unavailable. Taxis might also be a good choice when traveling with lots of equipment or if many people are traveling in the same taxi to the same destination.
See the Traveling by taxicab article on Wikivoyage.
Traveling by bus
Short-distance and long-distance bus service is often inexpensive, and in urban areas local bus service is a common form of transit.
For detailed tips on traveling by mass transit bus, see Ride a Public Transportation Bus on WikiHow (external link).
Traveling on foot or bicycle
For those who are physically able to travel on foot or bicycle, these methods can allow people an enjoyable time to mingle with the local residents while they are traveling from one destination to another.
It is best to travel in groups for safety, especially in locations which travelers are unfamiliar with, or when travelers are in dangerous weather or locations. Plan the route in advance, wear appropriate attire for the weather and local customs, and bring appropriate gear like maps and cell phones. Consider bringing cameras. Take precautions against pickpockets and other safety risks. Some areas are relatively safe for traveling on foot or bicycle, while others may may be very dangerous.
In some locations it is possible to rent bicycles and helmets at low cost.
Advice from the Wikimania Handbook about short-distance travel
Note: In this section, "hotel" is defined to include all hotels, hostels, dorms—wherever people are staying
The best and cheapest way to conduct an event is to have all relevant buildings and points of interest be within walking distance of each other. However, given the realities of cities, that is not always possible. This is when it is necessary to develop a transportation plan that efficiently moves your attendees around as to enjoy the full experience of the conference.
Your transportation needs will depend on the number of locations (venues, hotels, party sites, etc.) that factor into your conference, as well as their distance from each other. By cutting down on the number of locations you need to connect, you reduce your transportation needs, thus saving money. Further, the closer your various locations are to mass transit, and the better the mass transit systems are in your city, the more you can rely on public transportation instead of considerably costlier charter buses.
Whatever transportation scheme your logistical team agrees to, be sure to document it thoroughly and to disseminate this information among attendees. For instance, if you are renting a charter bus, publish a bus schedule of when people will be picked up from where. If you are encouraging public transportation, link people to the transit authority website and say which bus stops / train stations to travel between, as well as the cost of fare.
To and From Airport. Consider making a deal with a taxi or shared van company to provide transportation for attendees from the airport. Wikimania 2011 made a deal with a shared van transportation company. Volunteers at the airport handed out flyers to attendees which described the deal made: the van would transport Wikimania attendees only from the airport to the different hotels and dorms for a fixed rate and no baggage charges. Those riding the van would show this flyer to the driver who would honor the deal. This allowed for more flexibility than a higher capacity bus that would pick people up at intervals, and it was also cheaper since the attendees paid for the cost of transportation.
Between Hotels and Venue. It's strongly recommended that hotels be within short walking distance of the venue, thus eliminating much of the logistical hassles. This also allows people to come and go when they want, go back to the hotel to change before special events, etc., and makes it easier for people to socialize with one another in the evenings.
Should it not be possible to have accommodations within walking distance, then at minimum, you should provide transportation in the morning of the conference and in the evening after the conference ends for the day. However, with many charter bus companies, buses must be reserved for four hour minimums. The best way to get around this is by reserving shuttle buses for four hour blocks in the morning and late afternoon, providing a loop for both people wishing to go early in the morning but also later in the morning. For the evening shuttle, start providing transportation earlier in the afternoon, with the last bus picking up attendees about one hour after the conference ends for the day. Alternatively, encourage attendees to use public transportation (see below).
To and From Special Events. To minimize the amount of confusion, first transport people between the venue and the hotels, and then, transport people from the hotels to the special event. This way, people have time to rest, shower, get dressed, etc. before the event. At the end of the event, provide at least one bus that leaves early and one bus that leaves later, such as a 22:00 bus followed by a 23:00 bus. Assuming your special events are at night, consider that public transportation may not be the best option. While attendees may be accustomed to the route they take to the conference, they may not be as certain about going to and from the special event venue. Further, public transportation at night may be intimidating to some attendees.
Using public transportation
Wherever possible, encourage attendees to use public transportation. In addition to saving your conference team money, transit can often provide for a more flexible schedule than a charter bus would allow. For instance, many Wikimania 2012 attendees stayed at Hostelling International on the other side of town. Because there was a bus that ran every ten minutes between the hostel and a drop-off point one block away from the venue, the conference team decided to make use of that bus instead of chartering buses to cover that route. To that end, the Wikimania team worked with the hostel to provide each attendee with a reloadable transit card. Attendees were given bus schedules and were told where to get on and off the bus.
If possible, try to plan a conference centered entirely on transit, such that you will not need to charter any buses. At the same time, consider the limits posed by public transportation, such as the fact that bus and train routes may not neatly line up with where your venues and hotels are.
- Grants:Learning patterns/Arranging travel
- Grants:Learning patterns/International travel
- Grants:Learning patterns/Air travel
- Grants:Learning patterns/Rail travel
- Grants:Learning patterns/Automobile travel