Saturday, June 03, 2006

Public transport for spills and thrills

Just as I announce what I thought was a unique way to enjoy some of my leisure time in retirement, in today 's edition of The Age newspaper Kate Holden writes about her adventures and misadventures on London buses (sounds frightening). But she also talks about doing serendipity bus trips in South East Asia:

A friend and I used to play "adventuring" on Saturday afternoons when we lived in South-East Asia. Take a couple of coins for buying tickets, hurl yourself on the next bus that comes along, then the next, and see how far you can get in an afternoon. No distracting fixation on destination, no worries about getting home (taxis were cheap).

All around town we would scoot in a kind of peaceful trance, watching the city through dusty windows. Past financial centres, dusty street markets, suburban housing estates, historic monuments, over bridges and down back lanes. Sometimes dull and sometimes enthralling, these erratic peregrinations took us to places no tourist would ever see.

It seems that attaining the sublime confidence of the regular passenger is a matter of either strict planning, grim experience, or simply going along for the ride. It doesn't do to be too fixated on destination. Public transport is, like love and life, about not only anticipation, but surprise.

Ah, someone after my own heart. Read the whole article here (but I'm not sure how long they'll allow free access).

And just to finish off what has become a transport theme this week, there is currently the Public Transport Challenge being staged in Melbourne. It is an orienteering event for teams of high school students using trains, trams and buses to reach destinations quickly and efficiently, and gathering points which will determine the winning team. Sounds like fun!

11 comments:

Sue said...

Sounds like it's going to be an adventure! Recently we took the ferry to SF, then walked up to Market Street, caught a Muni and then rode a cable car.
So fun! It's just getting harder and harder to get around the Bay Area, as traffic is so bad....

Kerri said...

Public transport is a great convenience. We need a couple of vehicles out here in the country, but there are some bus systems operating for employees around here. A couple of big employers use them. Makes it convenient for people who need the service.
I used to ride the bus between Sydney and Palm Beach when I lived over there and was working in Sydney. A great time for reading books! When I lived in Neutral Bay I caught the ferry across the harbour every morning and evening. Now that's a fun way to travel!

Val said...

Kerri,
travelling to and from work by ferry sounds idyllic. I'd be too distracted to read, I think. Unfortunately I can't read on buses, I get a sick feeling, but it's ok on trams and trains. Must have something to do with the type of motion of the buses. Also, you can often smell the petrol fumes. Rail transport rules!

Lee-ann said...

Val hello from near castlemaine! lol lol lol lolo yes I know were that is and the restoration barn. you will have no trouble finding the depression green glass at the castlemaine collectors shop more though or ebay! as well.

I see you are about to retire good for you! and I am sure every moment after that date will be filled with great moments.

thank you for coming over to my very new and very first blogg! I look forward to many more chats in the future.

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

How adventurous to ride with no destination in mind...that's exactly how my husband and I take a vacation. We just follow the sun and avoid the rain clouds...We ride motorbikes.

Val said...

Wow, I don't know if I'll come up to people's expectations here. Following a train or tram route to the end of the line sounds kind of tame compared to taking whole vacations on motorbikes with no fixed destination!

Wendy A said...

Never really thought of public transportation quite that way. If petrol keeps climbing the way it is currently going, it won't be a bad way to go. We pay $1.34/lt. Ouch!

Meow said...

Quick visit, I'll be back later, but I just wanted to say thanks for the nice compliment re my desk. I thought you might be interested ... I got it at The Warehouse in stud Park, Rowville, on special for $119 ... $50 off usual price. A bargain, I thought. It is really solid and sturdy.
Anyway, take care. I'll be back later to read your post properly. Thanks again, Meow

Lindsay Lobe said...

Trains are environmentally friendly and safe means of transport. Maybe in your retirement, with more reaserch, you could become a spokesperson for the railways, both private and public and devise tours for appreciative day trippers. Maybe create a "Seniors Transport challenge" or The the Transport challenge for oversaea Travellors.
I might be one of your customers !!

Best wishes

Val said...

Lindsay,
I thought that would be a good idea too. I think there are some seniors walking groups who use tram and train lines as their point of departure for walks. A while back I saw a group of walkers "of a certain age" with backpacks get off a tram and start walking purposefully up the road.

doubleknot said...

Just can't get over how great your public transport is over there. If we had that here I would be going all the time.