Public Transport in Melbourne makes me love my car!

While public transport has its place in a modern city, it seems that unless you live & work extremely close to train stations on the same line, in many cases it’s far better to take a car.

Our car is currently off the road so we’ve been relying on public transport here in Melbourne and it’s a bloody pain in the neck! We live in McKinnon which is in the sorta-inner south east not too far from Moorabbin Airport so we’re not way out in the boonies but were also not in the inner-city as we once were.

So, here’s a list of issues so far:

  1. From the front door of my house to the front door of my office in West Richmond, it’s faster for me to drive than take public transport, even if I use the bus from home to the railways station instead of walking. At 7:30am I drive to the office by 8am and that’s even after dropping Kitt at Richmond station to get into the CBD. Via Public Transport it’s a bus (or walk) to the station, then a train to Richmond & walk up to West Richmond or a train to the city & then another to West Richmond. Not all trains that go through West Richmond stop there and buses at home are infrequent enough to make walking almost but not quite more effective.
  2. Now that holidays are over, the trains are starting to fill up, occasionally being standing-room only even from McKinnon around 7:50-8am (especially if they’ve cancelled a prior service or it’s running late). Certainly the roads are getting more crowded but I’m still faster in the car.
  3. On weekends when we go shopping, the bus service through Carnegie and/or to Chadstone drops to one per hour from about 3 or 4pm onwards – bad luck if you just miss one!
  4. Later in the evening or on a Sunday, frequency drops right off and you’re screwed if you want to stop off for a late dinner on the way home from watching a movie in the city.
  5. Carrying anything more than a couple of bags of shopping per person becomes a joke! If you’re lucky there’s space but you’re still hauling them all with you instead of chucking them in the back of the car.
  6. Even if I’m in slow moving traffic, I have heating/cooling, my music and space. Woe unto the commuters packed into a bus/tram/train with crappy temperature controls, packed up against others who usually hate moving into the middle of the carriage.
  7. Lets not even talk about going from down here up to Kew or Greensborough where you need to go into the city then back out again on not-so-frequent services (if you’re doing it on a weekend/evening/holiday) and walk a few kilometres if your friends aren’t living near a service.

Yes, public transport is an essential item but we really need to improve the offerings here in Melbourne if more people are to start using it. How about more frequency on routes & not dropping down to “non-existant” on Saturday arvos, Sunday’s or Public Holidays? Just that would help immensely let alone putting in some more routes for those of us not conveniently near a train station or tram stop.

Spring in Melbourne

It must be spring in Melbourne: Spring Carnival horse racing has started and there are ladies to be seen in town wearing light & often skimpy spring fashions on their way to & from the races. We’ve just had a week or so of clear blue skies and relative warmth (20-25 degrees Celsius) to get everyone feeling like Spring has sprung and it’s safe to shed a few layers of clothing.

So what does Melbourne’s weather decide to do? Why, flip to cold and start the rain bucketing down, what else? We’re back to 12-16 degrees, it’s raining, there’s storms (with hail, no less) and lots of wind. The Bureau are predicting coldish temperatures into next week and there are currently warnings for flooding in the catchment areas, severe winds across the bay & district (gale force & damaging) and potential for flash flooding.

Great time for my parents to come down from their place in tropical Thailand to visit us, no? :)

NOTE: Actually, the flooding in the catchment areas is not all bad – we need the rain to help refill our water supplies as the 10 year drought we’ve been in had them getting worryingly low.

Wouldn’t you like to fly…

One of the benefits of working with Balloon Sunrise is that occasionally you get a chance to go up and fly over Melbourne in a balloon. If there’s a spare place on board, we try to get a crew member that’s not working to have a go. In addition to being a bonus for the crew, it’s also good for them to see what it’s like up there.

My turn came around again today – what a hoot! We flew from a set of ovals in Kensington to Moorabbin airport. A great flight and lots of fun.

I managed to get a few photos and will load them on the site soon(ish).