Friday, 20 February 2015

Action Adventures, or Why I gave up the bus

© Depositphotos.com/@comzeal
When I purchased a second car a few months ago, there was much discussion about whether we should give up cars altogether and just ride the bike or bus, or, take advantage of the bike racks on the bus and do both. I've been trying to do that recently but I am grateful for the car every day.

As the ideal way to improve the environment, and one's finances, the bicycle/bus combination makes sense. But in practice, it is a joke in comparison to using my car.

Getting to or from work on the bus is hard work. At one point during the day, there are no buses for a period of 1 hour and 20 minutes, and only every hour after that.

Lately, I have tried to ride to intercept the bus along one of the routes where it travels every 15 minutes. About 80% of the time, this is successful. But 20% of the time the bus does not have a bike rack. This is not consistent, either, with buses with or without racks seeming to change from day to day.

But no matter what, it takes a minimum of 50 minutes to travel one way to work from home without the bike, or, depending on time waiting at the bus stop, about 30 minutes with the bike/bus combo.

Yesterday, however, the bus driver insisted that my bike was too big for the rack, even though it had been on that particular bus (identifiable by a stuffed lizard attached to the bike rack) several times before. After some passive-aggressive old man-isms, he insisted that I "get it checked out", whatever that means, and let me travel. 

That was it for me. To top it off, my bike, which had the puncture fixed the day before, ended up with another puncture after about 5 minutes of riding.

So I drove the car.

Peak moment in Canberra traffic and I decided to drive home via Gungahlin Drive. $6 for parking, 10 minutes driving and I was home. Parking cost me about $2 more than the bus even after the BPay discount via MyWay. I have to pay for registration, maintenance and fuel anyway, so the other costs are negligible.

Adapted from © Depositphotos.com/@Den.the.Grate@gmail.com
And that is it for me. I gave it my best shot, but the obstacles are far too great. I would rather spend 10 minutes in the car than 50 minutes in the bus and getting lip from bus drivers. Excuse me for being so demanding of public transport. But there it is. Even though I have about $40 left on my MyWay card. It can stay there.

I am convinced that there has to be a better way. If anything, my Action Adventures demonstrate that public transport, at least as I would use it, is not worth the hassle. It is fine for others, but not for me. 

Funnily enough, the literature suggests that this is the biggest impediment to improving public transport in Australia. Most people agree it is a good thing, but nobody wants to use it. And now I know why I prefer my car.

Creative Commons License Except where indicated otherwise, Le Flâneur Politique by Michael de Percy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Australia License. Based on a work at politicalscience.com.au. Background image ©Depositphotos.com/ @redshinestudio