Melbourne transport

Observations from a crowded train

Turned on my phone at 7am. Beep beep, beep beep. 9:01 train cancelled. Connex apologises for any inconvenience. (Is it really a sincere apology if it was typed by a programmer into the automated alerts system, and it’s just the computer repeating it ad nauseum ever after?)

So it was no surprise when I got to the station a couple of hours later (after breakfast, shower, dressing, glooping toothpaste all down the front of my shirt, doing an impression of a quick-change artist, dropping kids at school) to find the 9:13 was pretty crowded. Not to sardine-packed Tokyo Subway attendants-with-white-gloves-needed standard though, being a bit later than the peak hour. Shuffled along to the end of the carriage, found a hand hold to hold my hand on.

Looked down. Bloke sitting next to his bag. He stared off into space with a kind of semi-mean “I don’t care” look. Given the crowding I pondered if I should/could/would say something. Like “Does your bag have a ticket?” or “Is your bag quite comfortable there?”

Then I noticed he had one foot up on his other thigh, wrapped in a bandage and a sock. Further perusal revealed a crutch on the ground under the seat. So perhaps he wouldn’t be able to lift the bag back up if he put it on the floor. Okay. Benefit of the doubt.

At Malvern a suit on the platform was pushing a kid in one of those three-wheeled pushers. In the compartment underneath the kid was a Bob The Builder bag, in bright colours with “Yes we can!” written on it. Obviously this wasn’t a response to the question “Can we squeeze on board that train?” because they decided not to try it, but to wait for the next one.

At the other end of the MATHS stations, South Yarra, there were not one but two people boarding with iPods (or iPod clones). Maybe they’re a tad more prevalent in South Yarra than less well-to-do burbs.

Off the train at Parliament. Through the bustling crowds (express lane on the escalators working as they should — hooray!), up and out into the fresh air, and a brisk walk along Collins Street to work.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

4 replies on “Observations from a crowded train”

You know how sometimes you read something quickly and you think it says something else? I clicked on the “MATHS stations” link and for a moment I thought it said the Frankenstein Line. :)

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