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Readers speak: why we don't catch buses

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A new report showing that well-off Adelaideans shun public transport – in defiance of the trend in other cities – has sparked an overwhelming response from InDaily readers.

TONY ROBINSON: I drive to work solo because the bus service is so unreliable, particularly outside of peak hours where I would tend to use it more often – the southern suburbs, Happy Valley/Flagstaff Hill.

On three separate consecutive occasions my wife waited for bus services to find that two buses in a row didn’t show and on one additional trip she gave up after 3 buses failed to appear.  When the service is good people will respond with demand – when it is not only those who have no other choice will use the bus.

How can you even try to compare Sydney and Adelaide transport systems. Sydney’s are well patronised by the wealthy as it is not only convenient but it is relatively cheap and reliable – Adelaide’s may be relatively cheap but they are neither convenient nor are they reliable.

JOHN THOMPSON: I am a regular visitor to Sydney, I use trains there whenever possible – which is most of the time; they are quick, cheap and reliable. Adelaide’s trains are never quick or cheap, and not always reliable, why would anyone choose to use them?

CARON WILLIAMSON: If I catch a bus it takes 20 minutes longer than going by car. The buses don’t start early enough, especially on weekends. I am a cleaner at a hospital and if I stop at shops on the way home it is more convenient to go by car. God knows how long it would take to catch a bus after doing shopping to get home. I am sick of people telling me to ride a bike or catch a bus. I thought we lived on a free country.

NINA LINDNER: My husband and I share the car to go to work. We drop off our two-year-old at child care first. We use the Southern Expressway, as it seems to be quicker than South Road, even with all the current roadworks and speed restrictions.

I honestly don’t know how we would use public transport. The nearest train station is several kilometres away, and the train line is closed for electrification until the end of the year. I haven’t seen any bus stops near where we live, and it would take a long time in the mornings to catch one or two buses to get to the university, plus where the bus stops at the university is a long way from my office. And I have no idea how we would fit the child care drop-off in if we were to catch a bus. Plus there’s the issue of all the bags we need to bring with us too. Just not practical.

With all the commitments people have these days before and after work, a car is a necessity, and our public transport system is not always the most convenient way to get around.

JENNY LIVINGSTONE: I drive to work rather than using public transport, for two reasons;

1. I drop my daughter off at childcare and collect her in the evenings. It is on the public transport route, however, it is in the opposite direction to work

2. I work on the outskirts of the city and have free parking where I work. To get a bus in to the city is easy, however, getting a connecting bus/tram to where I work is not easy.

I can leave home, drop my daughter off at childcare and then continue on to work in less time than if I took public transport.

The flexibility of having the car is wonderful as I never know when I’ll receive a call from childcare if she’s had an accident or is unwell. The thought of getting a tram/bus combo to childcare and then getting on another bus to get home after that (the buses run every half an hour near where I live), who knows how long it would take to get home – with a sick or hurt child, no thanks!

We used to live in Sydney and I used to catch public transport every day. I liked their system, the further out you lived, the more you paid. Here in SA, public transport is expensive, I live 10km from the city and I pay as much as someone living 30km away. It’s just not a friendly system (timetable or cost).

NARELLE: Regarding the article “Adelaide’s rich drive solo, leaving buses for the poor”, if I was “rich”, I would not use public transport in Adelaide. Standing in a so called Go Zone for well over 15 minutes with no buses in sight on a regular basis, wondering if you should ring someone to pick you up or if the bus will ever turn up, does not engender much confidence in the public transport system.

The sad thing is that once Adelaide’s public transport system is restored to its former standard, it will take years for people to trust it again.

JESS TOVARA: I drive to work.  I live in Prospect, 5km out of the city. Weekly bus fares for me and my partner who also works in the city cost more than $30 each. Parking cost $11 per day. It’s a no brainer.

I would like to see zoning introduced for those living close to the city, making it cheaper to catch the bus from such a short distance.

BRONWYN LUDLAM: I am not surprised that people, whatever their income, drive their cars to work in Adelaide.

As I waited for 15 minutes at Glenelg for the tram at 0810 today, I reflected that while Melbourne manages to run an extensive network encompassing city and suburbs, Adelaide’s single tram service is woefully inadequate and incredibly slow-moving – one of the problems being constant delays at South Terrace. It seems that two trams cannot move past each other at this point.

There is definitely a need for thinking outside the old fashioned ‘peak hour’ square. The most common tram service arriving at Glenelg between 0830 and 0900 on weekdays appears to be ‘Not in Service’. The much-touted ‘go’ zones don’t work – there are not enough trams at very frequent intervals to cope with everyone who wants to catch the tram, with carriages packed to capacity after a few stops and delays as people stand in the doorways and impede the closure of the doors.

I am a lifelong devotee of public transport, catching the Noarlunga train into the city throughout my earlier years, but on journeys in recent years have encountered sardine-like conditions there too.

Adelaide roads are clogged with cars and buses – the latter belching out diesel fumes which reportedly release unhealthy particles into the air, small enough to pose a human health hazard. Buses journey no quicker than cars and are also incredibly crowded.

Finally, by its very nature, ‘public’ transport carries whoever does (or often on the tram, it seems, does not) pay for a ticket. Many of my fellow travellers seem to have an ongoing problem with their hearing in that their ‘personal’ music systems are uncomfortably audible to the entire carriage.

It is enough to make me seriously consider driving my car to work too.

Send us letters: Email us at indaily@solsticemedia.com.au, including your full name. The editor reserves the right to edit letters.

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