Everyone knows it; Adelaide’s public transport system is bad, really bad. I have been using public transport since I was about eight. When I lived in Sydney, one of the main problems was the termination of trains, which forced you to wait until the next service was running. In Adelaide, buses are the main problem, with one in three running late according to the latest State Government figures.
I use public transport to get to uni, work, social events, volunteering – you name it. My biggest public transport gripe, though, is with the H20 bus that I catch to and from uni. This bus travels from UniSA Magill to Paradise Interchange and it never runs on time. Usually it’s around 10 minutes late, but it’s regularly double that after 3pm.
It’s a familiar story for Magill students; you’re sitting on the bench in front of Murray House and a bus is pulling up. Is it a H20? Nope, it’s the B10, which terminates two stops down. Another bus appears two minutes later, this time with a ‘Not in Service’ sign. Then another B10 bus pulls up followed by two more ‘Not in Service’ buses. And let’s not get started on those so-called ‘Special’ buses. I have sat alongside many other students waiting at the bus stop, getting more and more frustrated, constantly checking our phones and glaring hopefully down the road. (Editors: Spare a thought for students catching a bus in town during peak hour).
As of July 1, more than 80 bus timetables were updated to allow increased travel time for certain routes. Fare prices also went up, which irritates me even more. Why pay for bad service? Buses are consistently late, some don’t even bother showing up and it’s not uncommon for drivers to have no clue where they’re going.
I’ll never forget when my driver turned around to ask the passengers which street he had to turn onto. Really?! Why aren’t GPSs’ installed so drivers actually know where they’re going? Clearly some have not had adequate training before getting behind the wheel.
Those annoying new ticket machines only add to the frustration of commuters. They’re basically the same as the old machines, but instead of putting the ticket in horizontally through the front, you put it in vertically from the top. Not that hard, right? Or at least that’s what I first thought. While providing initial amusement, the amount of times people (often the elderly) struggle to put their ticket in the correct way is now just aggravating. And soon these ‘new’ systems will be replaced with ‘brand new’ ticketing technology. Instead of validating a ticket, you’ll scan a rechargeable card much like the PayPass credit system, yet other countries have been using this technology for years.
So you’re probably thinking – if I’m so annoyed with public transport, why don’t I just buy a car and drive? Good point. I’m saving up for one at the moment, and can’t wait until I can choose when and where I leave from. However, public transport is a crucial part of any city and state. What message are we sending to potential visitors? “Come to Adelaide! Our transport will get you to your destination late every time.”
Don’t get me wrong, I like using public transport. It’s great when it works, and is often a lot cheaper than having to find and pay for parking in the city. But I’m one ‘Special’ bus away from having a go at some clueless bus driver. Let’s hope all this money the government is spending to fix public transport isn’t going to be for nothing. I’ll be waiting to see if it is, probably at the bus stop too.