Friday 29 December 2017

Public transport (buses, trains and trams)

in the city I live in has many faults. Several days ago on this blog I complained about the fact the local train was going to be closed for several days, effectively leaving me stranded.  
This morning's paper carries a front page story about public servants who are, apparently, refusing to relocate to a new building in the old port area.  They say it is "too far" to travel. They want to "telecommute" instead. They want others to take up places in the building instead.
I thought about this and wondered how they get to work now. 
My first (paid) teaching position involved me leaving home at 6:50am and getting back at around  6:25pm. I prepared lessons on the way there and back. I typed them up and made teaching aids in the evening. Term holidays were spent catching up on the things I hadn't done and attending meetings or conferences - the sort of thing that now happens on "pupil-free" days.
If I was going to work at the new building these people don't want to work at I would not need to leave quite so early and I would probably be home before 6pm - providing that the trains were running. What is more I would be using the time I spent on public transport. Depending on my role at work I might be doing some work - or I might use it to do something else. I know I would not  simply be sitting there and staring into space. As days go my day as a public servant probably would not be that long compared with someone like my nephew, a doctor, who frequently works a twelve hour day - not including travel time.
It's very obvious we need to rethink travel to work. I imagine those who are demanding they be allowed to telecommute drive themselves to work. For them a greater distance is likely to be a problem, especially if they need to get children to school as well.  It would help if they learned to use the time they spent travelling. 
It might also help though if the government concentrated on supplying a public transport system that really met people's needs. 
Building a tunnel (at huge expense) to "save three and a half minutes" is not the answer. Making sure that public transport is an option for everyone all the time and then encouraging them to use it while discouraging the use of private cars? That sounds more like it.


Anonymous said...


Jodiebodie said...

I know that there are workers involved who ride bicycles to work. They use the 'bikeways' that are specifically designed for purpose and which are separated from dangerous arterial roads - proof that if you design infrastructure properly, patronage will increase.

Unfortunately the increased distance to the port and lack of appropriate and safe cross-suburban bikeways will make life harder for one employee that I know. It will force them to drive to work which is neither good for the environment, their health or their household budget with the extra costs for petrol and maintenance. This is assuming this family has an extra vehicle available to them. For single vehicle households, a bicycle is an important option for independence, cost-saving and fitness. This worker has bought a home because of its quick and easy access to transport infrastructure to the city where there are more jobs available, and is not going to uproot the entire family for a job so far away. Working families are time poor so why would they want to make that worse with increased travel times? With their qualifications it will be easier to change jobs and take their expertise out of the public service. I wonder about the legality of the employment contracts too when the employer suddenly decides to change a major condition like workplace location.
It is my understanding that the train line to the new location isn't even open due to public works. Are the stations on that line going to be accessible for all? While these workers already have many privileges in their employment compared to others, I think their concerns and protests are valid.