Wordy Wednesday: Modes of Transportation I

Lots of driving today for us as Spring is finally here! We had fun going to various markets and picking up fresh, seasonal veggies to enjoy all week. What we do with those veggies is a topic for the other blog, so instead let's talk about different ways you can get around Latvia.

Surprisingly, or perhaps not so surprisingly, there are more options in Liepāja alone than there in many American cities! Salt Lake, for example, really only has buses and light-rail. Of course, we're rather behind when it comes to mass transit.

A little late today, but hey, it's still Wednesday somewhere, right? Let's get to it.

  • dzelzceļš : railroad [slider title="decline me"] dzelzceļš , m, 1. dekl.
    vsk.: dzelzceļš, dzelzceļa, dzelzceļam, dzelzceļu, ar dzelzceļu, dzelzceļā
    dsk.: dzelzceļi, dzelzceļu, dzelzceļiem, dzelzceļus, ar dzelzceļiem, dzelzceļos [/slider]

This is neat. Dzelzs means iron and ceļš means road , so a railroad means literally, iron road , which makes a ton of sense. Unfortunately, the word for locomotive is simply lokomotīve instead of our more fun colloquialism of "iron horse" which would have suited beautifully.

A railroad station is a dzelceļa stacija.

  • tramvajs : tram, streetcar [slider title="decline me"] tramvajs , m, 1. dekl.
    vsk.: tramvajs, tramvaja, tramvajam, tramvaju, ar tramvaju, tramvajā
    dsk.: tramvaji, tramvaju, tramvajiem, tramvajus, ar tramvajiem, tramvajos [/slider]

If you want to take the tram in Liepāja, you can usually pick up tickets at a discount at Narvesen kiosks, or you can buy tickets from the driver. Another word for trams, at least in our area here, is light-rail.

A tram stop is a tramvaja pietura.

  • autobuss : bus [slider title="decline me"] autobuss , m, 1. dekl.
    vsk.: autobuss, autobusa, autobusam, autobusu, ar autobusu, autobusā
    dsk.: autobusi, autobusu, autobusiem, autobusus, ar autobusiem, autobusos [/slider]

When getting on a Latvian bus, look around for the conductor to buy a ticket. You can spot them by the rolls of tickets crossing their chests on bandoliers. If there isn't a conductor, buy a ticket from the driver.

If you hear the phrases, "galapunkts" or "lūdzu izkāpiet" - it's time to get off! You've reached the end of the line.

A bus stop is an autobusa pietura while a bus terminal is an autoosta.

  • trolejbuss : trolley [slider title="decline me"] trolejbuss , m, 1. dekl.
    vsk.: trolejbuss, trolejbusa, trolejbusam, trolejbusu, ar trolejbusu, trolejbusā
    dsk.: trolejbusi, trolejbusu, trolejbusiem, trolejbusus, ar trolejbusiem, trolejbusos [/slider]

The difference between a bus and a trolley is that a trolley runs on overhead electric wires.

A trolley stop is a trolejbusa pietura.

  • mikroautobuss : minibus, shuttle, microbus [slider title="decline me"] mikroautobuss , m, 1. dekl.
    vsk.: mikroautobuss, mikroautobusa, mikoautobusam, mikroautobusu, ar mikroautobusu, mikroautobusā
    dsk.: mikroautobusi, mikroautobusu, mikroautobusiem, mikroautobusus, ar mikroautobusiem, mikroautobusos [/slider]

You can also shorten it to mikriņš. We don't have very many shuttle routes that are open to public use here in Western America (shuttles are primarily for corporate use), but they are commonly used all over Latvia to service various routes. The claustrophobic or the socially anxious would be well advised to steer clear of these. You'll talk with the driver who will charge you for your ticket based on how far you need to go unless you're on a route that has a flat fee (which he will tell you).

A mikriņš stops at a mikroautobusa pietura. However, unlike traditional buses, these do not stop unless you flag them or request to exit. On rural routes, they are often willing to stop at any given point requested along the route. To request a stop, say "Lūdzu pieturiet šeit" or "Please stop here". In this way, they are more like cabs.

  • braukt : to drive [slider title="conjugate me"] braukt , 1. konj. (short)
    tag. braucu, brauc, brauc, braucam, braucat
    pag. braucu, brauci, brauca, braucām, braucāt
    nak. braukšu, brauksi, brauks, brauksim, brauksiet / brauksit
    pav. brauc, brauciet [/slider]

One of the essential Latvian verbs to know, braukt is used to refer to traveling via any means of wheeled ground transportation regardless of whether or not you are the driver. This can make it difficult to translate well as English assumes that if you are driving, you are the driver. Latvian makes no such assumption and applies the verb equally to both drivers and passengers.