There are few towns where the public transportation works 24/7. Most of the lines start somewhere between 5 and 6 in the morning. The daily service ends on late evening, between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m. For cities above 1 million inhabitants, the service ends between 11 p.m. and midnight, with some exceptions. The following table presents the hours at which the service starts, respectively stops for several European capitals. Note that most of the bus companies websites don’t have an English version:
|Country||Capital||First bus/tram||Last bus/tram|
|Czech Rep.||Prague||5 a.m.||11:45 p.m.|
|France||Paris||5 a.m.||1 a.m.|
|Italy||Rome||5:45 a.m.||11:45 p.m.|
|Romania||Bucharest||5 a.m.||11 p.m.|
|Spain||Madrid||6 a.m.||11:45 p.m.|
The timetable above should be used with caution. The official websites of the cities offer accurate values for the service hours. Some municipalities provide a night service. The night service is a highly diminished version of its daytime counterpart. There is a fracture between the last two-three trips on regular line and the few night lines. This fracture is a decisive factor on the diurnal rhythms of the city. Most of the commercial centers or malls close at night slightly before the last bus passes by. The first planes take off well after the regular bus service resumes. Everything is connected with everything else.
It is a catch-22. The public transportation systems adapt to the needs of the people and the other services adapt to the public transportation. The local economy breathes the air in the rhythm of the city. Sometimes, the economy goes faster, for several reasons. The transportation doesn’t follow immediately. One, two, five, even ten years can span before the local bus company realizes it needs to adapt. Once it does, everything falls back in place. The process of self-regulation takes place independently, that’s why no matter who the mayor is, the choice is always the same.
What would Thomas Hardy say about it?