By Lucy Ahern
I’ve never really been one to get on a soapbox about rights issues, but today I’m going get my Braveheart on and stand up for the persecuted – Adelaide Metro.
They’ve served me faithfully for more than 10 years (shout out to my parents for never picking me up or dropping me off at school), and while it has meant that I’m nearly 22 and still on my Ps, I have no regrets. It’s also instilled substantial loyalty; I say no to bus-bashing, train-trashing and public-transport-protesting.
For all the haters out there, I want to put some things into perspective.
– Your bus is five minutes late? That’s five minutes you don’t have to be in that tute. Five minutes you don’t have to be at work. Fail proof excuse.
– The new ticket machines are not going to ruin your day. It’s not hard to put your ticket in vertically rather than horizontally.
– It’s easy to use the railway station’s turnstiles. Don’t blame Adelaide Metro for your ineptitude.
– Your bus driver is a person too. They take a lot of shit from other commuters who complain about bumpy roads and two minute delays, and they don’t need you berating them. Shut up, sit down and enjoy being chauffeured around.
– Blah blah blah they put ticket prices up every six months blah. Suck it up – it’s cheaper than petrol. AND you’re doing your little bit for the environment. Embrace your inner hippy and put down those keys.
– Public transport allows time for introspection, daydreaming and Facebook stalking. You get to watch the hills roll by (geographically permitting), appreciate the little things, etc. etc. You also get to observe frustrated drivers, fuming in the gridlock, as you whip past in the bus lane waving like the Queen from your high perch.
– Commuting takes the stress out of finding a park. No need to worry about reversing, slip lanes, clearways and crashing into inanimate objects/cars/ hipsters on brakeless fixies. Public transport is the saviour of bad drivers.
– Sneaky pre-drinks for the time poor. No inspector is going to ask to check your Pepsi Max bottle. Just sayin’. Oh, responsible consumption of alcohol is encouraged.
– Forgot your iPod? No problem! One of your fellow commuters will happily provide some musical entertainment for you. Maybe they’ll treat the whole carriage to dulcet originals, or just press play on their flip phone and share the ever-popular Hilltop Hoods with you all.
Riding public transport allows time for a whole range of activities that would otherwise be dangerous when operating a vehicle yourself. These include: the study you’ve left till half an hour before your tute, eating fries without spilling your Coke, and my favourite, sneaky perving on other commuters (I’m not alone, the Facebook group ‘I temporarily fall in love with people on public transport’ has more than 76,000 likes). I’ve always imagined that one day a dark, mysterious stranger will look up as he boards the bus, Metroticket in one hand, battered novel in the other, and our eyes will meet; he’ll sit down on the worn tartan seat across the aisle… ANYWAY.
If the chance to meet the love of your life isn’t enough, there’s also the opportunity to interact with a wide range of interesting folk. While some may be a touch on the eccentric side, embrace this as a snapshot of Adelaide’s community. The items people bring on to the bus are a constant source of entertainment, and you’ll be privy to some of the most amusing and often racy conversations you’ve ever heard. Recently, a passenger on Magill’s B10 route (represent) was spotted boarding with a kitchen sink. Won’t see that on the road now, will you?
And I’m not the only one with a predilection for public transport. A quick google highlighted the existence of like-minded individuals worldwide. Melbourne brought us Welovept.com.au, London’s tube system has its own t-shirts, tea towels and key rings, and recently the National Theatre of Scotland presented a ‘Love Letters to the Public Transport System’. This adoration is global.
But my final point, which I think is the perfect summation of the enjoyment encapsulated in public transport, is contained in but two words: stretchy bus.
I rest my case.