Detail from mural at Salisbury railway station. Authorís own photo
Travelling by public transport can save you money and can be better for the environment than taking the car everywhere. There is no worry about finding and perhaps paying for a park at your destination. It can give you time to reflect, read, write, listen to music or have a little nap.
If you are travelling with others it gives you the opportunity to concentrate on the conversation. Sometimes you may fall into a conversation with a fellow traveller. When you travel alone by car you are isolated but on public transport you sometimes feel part of a community.
Sometimes one or more of your fellow passengers catches your attention and makes you think. This may even lead to the creation of a piece of writing, perhaps a short story or a poem. Sometimes the trip may be noisy or crowded and not so pleasant. One never knows what experiences will come with the journey.
If I am travelling to Adelaide I catch the train. When I am travelling around the suburbs I use the train or bus. To get to Glenelg I hop on the tram. Generally I enjoy using public transport. However there are times when the experience is not pleasant and I canít wait to reach my destination.
Painting on fence seen from tram. Authorís own photo
Every state has its own fare structure so the amount of money saved by using public transport varies. I find sometimes the saving for me is considerable. In South Australia, seniors sixty and over travel free between 9am and 3pm so that is something to look forward to.
These days much public transport is easily accessed by people in wheelchairs. This saves the wheelchair user money and allows them to travel with the general public. I remember a time in decades gone by when someone in a wheelchair couldnít get onto a bus. If they wanted to catch a train two strong people needed to lift them in their wheelchair into the guardís van. The person in the wheelchair could only travel in the guardís van like a piece of luggage. It is still a challenge for a person in a wheelchair to travel at peak hour but the overall situation has improved.
Wheelchair accessible bus. Authorís own photo
When I travel by public transport I can look out the window and observe the countryside or suburbs we are passing through. The view from the tram or train window is different from what I would see if I were travelling on the road. Sometimes the view isnít much. There may be graffiti, run-down buildings and long dead grass. Perhaps there is an abandoned burnt out car. However even these things could inspire questions, thoughts or some writing.
Now and then a railway station or tram stop has been done up and has attractive art work to look at. Some streets along bus routes have interesting street art or painted stobie poles. When driving one has to concentrate on the road and canít take note of these things.
Painted stobie pole on Goodwood Road. Authorís own photo
People-watching is one way to pass the time. It is interesting to look at fellow travellers (without staring) and sometimes one overhears conversation between people travelling together or from a mobile phone user.
Occasionally I encounter someone I know when I use the train. This happened to me the other day and gave me the chance for a nice chat. It is uplifting to have an unplanned conversation with a friend. Travelling on public transport often has surprises, usually positive ones.