I was reading this article in The Age about public transport in Melbourne over the weekend as I thought about alternative ways to get to and from work. The public transport system is at bursting point around peak times every day. I stand at tram stops and have to let one, and sometimes up to three trams go by before there is one with room for anyone else.
I've tried cycling, but drivers in Melbourne seem to feel like they are competing with cyclists and behave very aggressively.
So, I've come full circle back to driving. I am not a fan of driving in the city, as it often takes as long, if not longer than public transport or cycling, but a car can provide entertainment, comfort, reliability and protection. The added expense of registration, maintenance etc. is something Australians seem comfortable with, as so many of us go out and get a licence the minute we come of age and then drive most days thereafter for the rest of our lives. It's only those of us who live and work in the cities who have either been forced, or have found it more convenient to debase ourselves every day crammed into whichever public conveyance serves our purpose.
The biggest problem with public transport is the public themselves. In an over stretched system like Melbourne's train and tram network, people don't have the time to be courteous to those around them. Pregnant women and old people stand when men in suits sit comfortably focused on their iPads.
Lately I have observed a great deal of frustration and aggravation on trams, mainly focused on personal space. People crammed together will invariably become annoyed and it doesn't take much to push people over the edge. This morning two men (one of them possibly mentally ill) had an altercation about how much room there was on the tram and whether or not one of them would fit. The aggressor forced his way on the tram and was then abusive towards others on the tram, including me!
This wasn't the first time, and it won't be the last. It really isn't a nice way to start the day.