Every regular public transport user can’t deny that public transport is a love market. The main reason for train travelers in the Netherlands to read Dutch Railways magazine Rails was the famous dating section ‘Hartkloppingen’ (‘Heart Beats’). The magazine has disappeared, but the train company recently re-introduced it with this Tumblr blog. Prague’s public transport company Ropid seems to understand that flirting could be an important reason for many people to take a bus, tram or metro, or to settle in a city at all. Its efforts to introduce special ‘flirt cars’ are part of a project to make public transport in the Czech capital more popular.
The love trains are due to launch at the end of 2013. “People meet there, pass by each other, and if they like one another they can start a relationship”, a company spokesman told AFP. The love cars will be visually re-branded in such a way that it becomes clear that travelers are invited to flirt inside. Special signage on the metro platforms will provide information about the cars in different languages in order to also invite foreigners to participate in the flirting game. Ropid makes clear that, of course, no-one will be forced to flirt in the special cars.
Although contemporary urbanism is all about strengthening communities and re-activating public spaces as meeting spots, flirting seems to be totally ignored. Almost four years ago we wrote an article in which we introduced the Erotic City as a concept for city-making. We’re delighted to see that Prague’s public transport company takes love as a tool to unite people.