Tuesday, 22 July 2014

The morning commute - on the roads

My work has required me to drive lately. Usually, I catch public transport everywhere, but lately I've been needed somewhere that would require a circuitous route and twice the time to reach my destination if I travelled on public transport. So I have been driving.

One of the major obstacles I must navigate to go just about anywhere is the Westgate Bridge. Under normal conditions, it's about an 8 minute drive from my house. The other morning it took me 55 minutes! This morning during peak hour it took about 15 minutes to get there.

It's interesting to observe driver behaviour when there is heavy congestion. Some people change lanes regularly as if they can find the lane that is moving more quickly. This is fatal, as anyone who has jumped queues at the supermarket knows. The minute you switch, the lane you were in starts to flow and the first day trainee takes over the new lane. Other people sit right on the tail of the car in front of them. It's as if the invasion of space will urge me to move forward more quickly. This is doomed to failure too as usually there's no where for me to go. I like to keep some distance between me and the car in front so that I won't end up in a sandwich when the idiot behind me rear-ends me. Then there's the person for whom driving is a distraction from reading their facebook newsfeed. Threats of long range cameras, fines and demerit points seem to be doing little to change behaviour when it comes to mobile phones and cars. 

Despite some of the trials of public transport (overcrowding, listening to endless sniffing and coughing, along with inane or revealing conversation, delays and cancellations) I miss the main benefit - productive time. While I travel I can read or do something else like read  my facebook news feed, or post to twitter to complain about the overcrowding, endless sniffing and coughing, the quality of the conversation or the fact that I'm stranded somewhere between North Melbourne and Footscray. 

Today, the car trip to the place I was working took 25 minutes, door-to-door. On public transport it would have taken just under 50 minutes and I would have had to catch a train, a tram and then walked. Not very appealing in this cold winter weather.

How do you get to work?

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