Public Transport in Melbourne, and other stories of entitlement.

There’s something constant about public transport in Melbourne. When I first moved here, I found it remarkable. It was easy, convenient, widely accessible (for all the places i needed to go anyway) and reliable.

After two years in Melbourne, I have to admit I’ve become a bit jaded. I plan to catch the train or tram extra early if I know I have to be somewhere on time, just because something going wrong (delays and cancellations) happen so often. I try to altogether avoid traveling at peak hour times to avoid packed carriages and pissed off passengers. So yeah, altogether not so easy and reliable. Except of course, when it is.

Because you only notice something going wrong when something goes wrong. All the other times the trams and trains are on time go completely unnoticed. I’m not saying the system is without flaws, but there are a lot of qualities that we actually overlook because¬† we feel entitled to it anyway.¬† It’s like the internet in a certain way. We’ve become so completely immersed and dependent on the internet that when something out of the ordinary happens we completely lose our shit.

For example, I was writing a post about the City Circle Tram, a free service that runs around the CBD, showing you some of Melbourne’s most iconic spots. I had a video to accompany the post, a short film made by one of my friends about Melbourne’s public transport called The Loop. Except when I searched for it on Vimeo, I discovered it had been removed!

Now what? I had to ditch my post, rewrite something else – all because some one had the nerve to take their own creation off the net. The internet is for everyone! it’s meant to be permanent, with content that lasts forever. It’s not meant to be intangible and temporary! It’s the internet! \rant over.

Except when you think about it, it’s completely understandable. Because even though the internet and everything digital is meant to signify the ever-lasting, there is nothing less true. Yeah sure, you can copy and replicate, link and save. But how do you call something permanent, when in certain physical terms it doesn’t exist at all?¬† Whether it’s a crash that wipes your computer’s memory, or a friend deciding to delete their content, how permanent is digital content really? So it’s quite surprising we have this attitude of “forever” when in fact there is an infinite possibility of the “temporary”.

Apply this thinking to public transport again. There are so many factors affecting the time your tram arrives. From the mood of the driver that day, the weather, or that car that decided to run a red light – yes you should rely on public transport to an extent, but too much reliability in the face of so many external factors can only lead to disappointment.

So stop fuming about situations out of your control, and enjoy this little gem.

Don’t forget to validate your myki!

Advertisements