(title image via wikimedia, by Liamdavis)
I moved to Australia being used to taking the train to work. I have done this for years in the Netherlands, and I have always been a fan of public transport. So naturally, my first instinct was to do the same here, and so I have done for the past year.
A few weeks ago, though, I have changed my mind.
No, not about public transport in general. I still prefer being able to sit down and read a book, work, or even write the odd blog post (as I am doing this very moment). And I am still happy to be able to have great conversations with absolute strangers.
No, the only thing I have changed is the mode of transport.
It started a few weeks ago, when I had to go to the office on the same Sunday that the rail company had closed the line going through our suburb, in order to work on removing some of the rail crossings in Melbourne. This put me in a bit of a dilemma, as I usually took my bike onto the train for the first and last couple of kilometres of my journey, which was not possible on the buses they were using instead. I was forced to look for alternatives.
Taking the car into town, just to pay AU$ 30,- for parking, didn’t really appeal. So I went to the Public Transport Victoria website and looked for alternatives.
As it turned out, there are multiple bus stops within walking distance of the house. And one of the buses stopping there will take me directly to Glen Iris station. And from there, I can take a tram that stops directly in front of the office. No more need for a bike!
I tried this out and it is working brilliantly. The bus is usually empty, apart from some students going to school and the odd worker, and since the tram starts at Glen Iris, I can easily find a seat to be able to open my laptop (even though it does fill up once you get closer to CBD).
So to anyone taking public transport in Melbourne: take a look around. Maybe you, too, can find an alternative to the notoriously over-crowded rush-hour trains that will actually get you to your destination quicker.