Thursday, November 25, 2010

Public Transport - Need I Say More?

I probably don't need to say more, but I will, because if I didn't - well, this would be a very boring post.

Having just moved from the Southside of Brisbane to the Northside (which is something akin to changing from an Australian citizen to a New Zealand citizen in the books of Southsiders - i.e. a huge deal!) has also required me to change my form of public transportation to work. I previously used to catch the bus and as we know, it was full of crazies. I now catch the train, which may not seem like a big thing to most of you, but having been a Southsider all my life, I have never had to catch a train in Brisbane before on my own. I think I have been on a train all of twice, both times with someone who knew exactly where they were going.

Do you guys have that feeling when you hope on a train for the first time that it might not end up at the destination you want? You sit there with your stomach slightly sunken with potential dread. I mean, it's not like it would have been the end of the world, but you don't want to be the idiot who catches the train in completely the wrong direction. Trust me, it has happened to people I know, and at the time, I gave them crap about it like it was no ones business.  

So there is that, and then there is the wonder of which crazy or at least which type of crazy you will have to deal with on that particular day. Shockingly, my week of train catching as been completely crazy free. I always thought that trains were nasty, smelly things that homeless people slept on and used as their own personal toilets. Not so, it would seem my fears were unfounded.

I also thought that the train station carpark would be a mugging waiting to happen. Again, completely untrue. The carparks are safe and monitored by cameras and I have never felt unsafe.

I think this is because on the Southside, the only contact I ever had with train stations was driving through the poorer suburbs (with my car doors locked) past their train stations and seeing people loitering suspiciously, hearing about every ones cars getting broken into. The poorer suburbs on the Southside were located near the train lines and as such, I never had any reason to ever catch a train anywhere. The bus services in the other, wealthier, suburbs was a much better and safer option as far as my parents were concerned, so we lived many, many suburbs away from the closest train lines in a suburb that was all family's, children on bicycles, kittens and puppies.

It is due to this that I have made some very wrong assumptions and generalisations about the type of person who catches the train in the Brisbane area. I will admit that I was predjudiced and now realise that all the bad stuff was completely in my mind. Of course it helps that the station I catch the train from is in an affluent area, similar to the environment I grew up in. It's kind of like the Northside is the complete reverse to the Southside.

Because trains are much bigger then buses, I don't experience the kind of cramming of passengers I did while catching the bus, and as a result, I do not have issues with people licking my neck, random strangers pulling my ipod headphones out of my ear because they were curious what music a girl like me would listen to, creepy old dudes "accidentally" touching my boobs and ass. All of those things happened to me on the bus within the last year. And more.

The one thing I love about the train is that I can totally zone out. The train stops at all the places regardless, unlike the bus, which you have to press a button to get it to stop.

So, to all my train readers out there, I am sorry I previously thought so badly of you. I was wrong. Buses are much worse.

That's it from me today.

Be awesome to each other.


Anonymous said...

Alright, I don't even know what I can say about it... public transport in here is just... *gets really angry and starts saying nasty words*

Starting a week and a half ago, for example, we had a bus strike... the drivers and collectors of the buses were asking for a 30% raise, among other things. If that was the only thing, I wouldn't have a problem, but the bad side of the story is: they make a strike every single year!!! And this year it's already the second strike they made! *curses a bit more*

And every time they make a strike the bus companies use it as an excuse to raise the cost of the bus tickets, so that's just awful. This time, justice determined that the drivers were supposed to keep 50% of the buses on the street so people would still be able to go to work and such, but of course that wasn't enough: even on 100% days we go on the buses crammed together like sardines, so close to each other that "accidental" touches you-know-where are pretty normal, and in some hours you don't even need to hold on the bus supports, because even if the bus fell over a cliff you wouldn't be able to be moved even an inch O__O

So I think you can picture what kind of chaos we had around here with just 50% of the buses around. And that just gets worse: every day we had threats of having no buses at all (because sometimes they just decide that the raise offers aren't enough, so they just disrespect what the judge decided about a minimum amount of buses and stop them all, and there's nothing anyone can do, because they have no respect for people or the judge's decisions).

But thankfully yesterday they reached some sort of deal... they got 10% of raise, and the judge said that if they kept going with the strike it would be illegal and they would be punished. They even threatened to stop all buses again, but I think that, for once, they weren't in a mood to make people even angrier than they already were...

Donna said...

I think public transportation is always a little scary until you get used to it. I especially understand about getting on the wrong bus/train/subway and ending up who knows where. Part of it is that you have no control, at least if you are driving, biking, skateboarding or whatever if you took a wrong turn you can turn around.