Tuesday, 17 September 2013

ETA on public transport? Five and a half hours early.

Public transport gets me where I need to go, when I need to go, most of the time.  On Sunday I bumped right up against its limitations and instead of paying $3.50 for all day travel on Saturday and Sunday I had to drive my car.

I worked all weekend and had to be ready to start at 8am on Sunday morning, just near the MCG.  As usual, I used the Public Transport Victoria Journey Planner to search for my best transport options and said that I needed to arrive by 8am.

It gave me four options and the best option had me arriving in plenty of time...at 2:34am after a journey involving a train, two buses and two periods of walking and a total travel time of 1 hour and 12 minutes!  I wasn't sure what I would do with the spare five and a half hours before start time, I looked at the next arrival time.  That had me arriving late at 8:07am (assuming it was running without delay) and took 1 hour and 22 minutes after travelling on a bus, two trains and three intervals on foot.

I decided to drive instead.  The journey took me less than twenty minutes and I parked on the street for free.  I had always wondered why people chose to drive to attend church when they are right next door to tram lines and railway stations.  Now I now.

If I didn't have a car or wasn't in a position to drive I suppose I would have to take a taxi or plead forgiveness for being a little late and prepare for the epic journey.  I suppose cycling is another potential option.  I can't comment on this as I'm not familiar with travel times or methods for cycling, but I would require facilities at my workplace to enable me to change, store the bike on so on.

I don't expect that public transport options on a Sunday morning are going to be as available as they are during a weekday peak, but with changes to work patterns and lifestyles, this serious lack of public transport must be problematic for many people.  Even if I wanted to arrive at the same destination by 9am, my best travel option requires me to be on a train at 7:58am and I arrive 33 minutes early.  The option before that is the one that delivers me at 8:07am and the later option would see me arrive at 9:11am and take 33 minutes, station to station.

Melbourne is a great city.  Indeed we're the world's most livable city.  What must the public transport be like in other cities?  And now we are further condemned to languish with a new federal government which stated prior to the election that they would not be funding urban rail.  They're all about roads.

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