Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Closely Observed Trains

In a continuation of train-related observations, I endured my first journey this morning in the standing area as all the seats were taken.

Usually I don't have a problem finding a seat and there are several options available. Each side of the train is divided by two sides of seating, one suggesting 3 people could and should be sitting on them and the other with apparent room for two.

As with usual seating etiquette, people take up seating individually in both seating rows until you have to choose to sit right beside someone (the 2 seater) or have a gap between you and a random traveller (the 3 seater).

There is also a bizarre single seat available at either end of the carriage which almost no-one sits in unless there is no other option available as it requires squeezing past a 2 seater and playing leg hockey with the person opposite until a happy medium is reached.

This morning was a different matter entirely as from the second I woke up I was aware of a heavy rain outside pounding the ground. It was time to don the waterproof jacket.

As I caught a lift into the train station, the traffic was crawling along the roads with flooding already evident in huge pools of water jutting out several yards from the pavement which would give any passer by a second and considerably colder shower of the morning.

The platform at the station was instantly more crowded than I had seen before and I guessed the train might be the preferred option than walking on such a miserable day.

As the train pulled up and the doors opened, I made my usual vault for the upper section only to find it completely full and I made my way up the aisle from one end to the other looking like a spectator at a tennis rally unable to locate a single seat to squeeze into, not even the really stupid single seats.

Another passenger met me as she climbed the stairs and as I was looking to go down. We resigned ourselves to the huddled masses in the standing section.

I find this method of travelling incredibly awkward. Packed in like sardines there is nowhere to look if you are standing in the centre. Sure, you can glance around but you'll proabably catch someones eye and be forced to avert your look lest you look like a weirdo eye stalker. You can attempt the long distance stare between the heads of others to catch a glimpse of the outside world of graffittied walls and the blurred outline of stations or you can look at the ground and feel like a muppet.

I found myself doing all of the above and playing musical pole dancing, moving around it as people got on and off with the hustle and flow of early morning commuting.

Recently, RailCorp suggested replacing all 3 seaters with 2 seaters to leave more room for standing passengers. I suggest using the money for more carriages. I get the feeling that people who make decisions about these things (obviously) don't use public transport themselves. If they did, they'd probably never do so again, remove all seating and hand out mandatory blindfolds so everyone can stand and not creep anyone out with forlorn stares.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Poor Phil! It doesn't sound like much fun! Hopefully that will be the last of the rain and things will return to normal soon. Isn't it summer there now? Are summers really wet there? I am clueless! Love to you and Lou- I wore the gorgeous necklace yesterday and think it is just beautiful! xxx

1:11 am  
Blogger Skry said...

Bummer about the rail trip. Sounds like you have quite an ordeal getting to and from work. Here's hoping you find somewhere a bit closer to home to work fairly soon.

9:08 am  
Anonymous Lou said...

It's sring here at the minute, but its still really hot most of the time. That day was qite unusual, it was the coldest day in October that Sydney has had in 45 years!

11:47 am  

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