Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Rant du jour - Perth public transportation!

I think the idea of public transportation rocks.  No, really, I do.  No traffic jams, doing one's bit for the environment, and not having to deal with the utter numpties on the Perth roads - it's all full of win!

Or is it?

I live within 5 minute's drive of a train station and work in the CBD.  There is another train station within about a 7 minute drive from my house.  Note I used the words "drive from my house".  I want use the train.  I desperately want to use the train.  I can't even drive into the city in time to start work even if I COULD afford around $20 a day for parking plus petrol, because before-school care opens at 7am and not a minute sooner.

So train it is.

Let's see how this works.  I've managed to rejig my work schedule to start at 9:15 2 days a week to save paying out for before school care, so I drop the kids at school at around 8:20 and head to the station. 

But wait.  There's a problem.  Firstly, there's no free parking left.  It's full by around 6:55am.  No worries, I don't mind paying $3 a day to park.  But wait.  There's another problem.  There's no PAID parking left either.  None - I mean NONE within a 20 minute walk of the station.  In despair, I head to the next train station only to find the same story.

OK.  Absolute worst-case scenario, I'm going to have to drive to work.  So I do.  But wait.  There's a problem.  There's no parking anywhere near work.  None - I mean NONE!  All full.

Hmmmmm.  This is indeed tricky, and I'm already 30 minutes late now.  Whatever shall I do? 

I can hear the responses from you already - WHY, O Sparkly Tiara, WHY do you drive to the station?  Just take a bus - nice and simple.  Well, no, actually, it isn't.  The closest a bus goes to the kids' school would involve a 15 minute walk in addition to a 15 minute bus ride.  Twice.  Once from home to school and then again from school to train station.  That adds an hour to the already hour-long commute.  That seems rather absurd.  It would also mean that on the return trip I'd arrive at after-school care an hour after they shut.  I think they'd get heartily sick of that in a hurry.

Ride a bicycle, I hear you suggest quietly?  Hmmm.  No.  Not only do I loathe and detest bicycles, but I am also one of those unfortunate types who tends to "glow" profusely from exercise, and I do not wish to inflict BO upon my students all day.  Showering at work is not an option.  We're lucky if there's soap in the dispensers in the ladies' room, never mind showers.  Plus my 6 year old daughter is still very shaky on the bike and I'm not risking her anywhere near Perth's atrocious drivers.

One day a few weeks ago, in sheer desperation, I parked One Parking Spot Away from the designated "all day parking" at the station.  There was nowhere else to park.  It had all filled up by around 7am.  I saw a car next to me with a plaintive note in the windscreen begging not to get a ticket because there simply were no options.

Yep - we both got tickets.  I'm not paying.  Feck 'em.  I'd rather go to court and calmly rant at the Magistrate about the impossibility of it all.  Yeah, I'll probably still be told to pay, but at least I'll get my soapbox moment, damn it!

So what's the answer?  Simple - we need low-cost multi-storey car parks at major train hubs.  People will use trains if they are a viable option.  They really, really will (although decent coffee and free wifi wouldn't go astray as a sweetener).  The freeways are utterly jammed from around 5:30 until 9:00, then again from 3:30 - 6:30 and Perth residents are understandably Fed Right Up. 

Angry motorists on the freeway are not good.  Accidents and road-rage incidents are common.  Sense, apparently isn't.

So, Government of Western Australia - DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS!


Sparkles said...

That is dreadful. I love the idea of public transport but as i live 10 minutes drive from work it seems 2 buses and an hour on PT are my options. I like the idea of no traffic/ reading a book/knitting/ relaxing prior to and subsequent to work and when i lived in Melbourne these were options. no stress, jump on/off the trams/buses but in Perth our infrastructure is so behind theres no chance of it being rectified.

Dorothy said...

Melbourne is just as bad unless you live in the inner city where there are trams. Everywhere else the train stations are full by 7 am, the trains are packed like sardines and buses run hourly.

Hate it! Public Transport Users across all states unite! (Well, I would use it, if it was feasible. It just isn't.)

Romina Garcia said...

Oh I hear you.
I hate driving, but public transport in my area is not young child friendly.

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