Ode to Public Transport (Trains)

Public transport is useful. It can be annoying. It can also be good.

For trains….

We’ve all had (more than) our fair share of having to stand all the way to our destination, just because it’s peak hour and you’re travelling with the peak not against it. (Yes, this is worse on different lines.) Or the times when you’re travelling against/ outside of the peak can actually sit down and relax.

When we’re all in the same boat – sorry, carriage – during the peak, a fleeting camaraderie can form, as the standing people shuffle around at each station to let others out and in, then reposition themselves and their belongings so that there’s less chance of knocking into someone as the train moves. Knowing that everyone has to share the same space.

I enjoy public transport, most of the time, because it means I’m not having to think too much about getting from A to B. I prefer trains because it feels faster than other options a lot of the time. Trams and buses have their uses, too, but trams seem slow a lot of the time and buses have to deal with traffic. I like the SMART buses when going somewhere new via the road – it means I can be a bit more relaxed about getting there.

When you travel on public transport a lot, on particular lines/routes, you get to know them. The amount of time it’s going to take from A to B stopping all stations on a train, for example. Where the nice scenery is (like the bridges over the Merri Creek area near Westgarth and Rushall stations) and where the platforms change sides, if they do.

Melbourne’s public transport network is like a giant spiderweb. My main gripe with it is that the web of train lines is like the axle and spokes of a wheel, with the outer rim only provided by buses. Why do we have to go all the way into the city, just to go out again?

I like the network because it gets me where I want to go – to see family, my boyfriend, friends; to go to events or do other things.