Any way you look at it, catching a train in Sydney isn’t a pleasurable experience.
The old joke used to be “What do you give the cab driver who has everything? Deodorant” – but the stinky transport baton has truly been passed to CityRail.
Sydney’s rail network continues to frustrate commuters with, amongst other things, reeking trains with questionable air conditioning and carriages filled to the brim with cranky people who would prefer not to be sweating all over a complete stranger who lives in the next suburb, but have little choice.
How many times have you had friends romanticise about taking the train to work? How wonderful to do something positive for the environment and think of all the books I can read! Well, every day Sydney commuters certainly do the right thing for the environment but as for the library on rails? You can park that fantasy and limber up for fighting over seats and listening to annoying teenagers scream into their mobile phones while they listen to their iPods simultaneously.
There’s no reading of Fifty Shades of Grey or even the Good News Bible on the trip to Central these days. It’s impossible. Commuters are stuck standing up and being pushed around as carriages are packed full of hapless commuters who look like they are doing the Grapevine (yes, the 80s aerobics move) every time the train goes round the corner.
It gets worse… are you pregnant? If so, you’ve got more luck seeing John Laws without a bourbon in his hand than getting a seat on CityRail. Even if you do get a seat it will be tagged with graffiti and smell like a Bulldogs fan after a day on the turps.
Speaking of footy, who looks forward to a trip on the train to and from Homebush for a game there? I’d say even the train drivers would rather spend the night at a dodgy hotel nearby the stadium after a game or a concert rather than catch train home.
What a way to end the evening after taking your kids to see a great game of footy – being shoved and squashed up against a bunch of drunken and swearing football fans who are determined to sing the team song or We Are the Champions at the top of their lungs for the whole journey home.
There’s plenty of rail but there never seems to be enough trains when you need them. They always know how many people will be at a concert or the footy but they never have enough trains.
If you miss the first one, there’s always the next one, of course… which will arrive about an hour later, will be just as busy and usually filled up with even more colourful characters whose company you must endure on the ride home.
And how about putting some bathrooms on the trains? It seems sensible, but in reality it’s probably as likely as getting mood lighting, a bar and some vending machines installed on them. If we are going into the realm of fantasy, why not go the whole hog and get beanbags and a chill-out room? Personally I’d like to see Gold Class like the movies or, even better, what about a club at stations where you can get a complimentary glass of Shiraz while you wait two hours for the next train?
Any way you look at it, catching a train in Sydney just isn’t a pleasurable experience.
For a city that has so much that is the envy of the world how come we can’t get one of the most reliable transport forms in the world right?
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