30 April 2010

Hitchen on Sydney Transport

Sydney has smart buses - or perhaps I should say they have, "My Smart Buses" as the whiz kids marketing the NSW government's new ticketing system, have jumped on the "My" bandwagon and put that annoying and unoriginal marketing tool in front of everything.

Why are they Smart Buses? I shall tell you. They adapt to the weather - or to be specific - the windows adapt to the weather, including those that are so dirty or scratched that you can't see out the damn things. You can be sure that when you hop on the bus on a hot, sticky day, every bloody window will be so tightly shut, not even Arnie would be able to move them. But if as I did today, you board when it happens to be cold and raining - they will all be wide open. For good measure, the rain will also drip down on you from the emergency windows on the roof of the bus.

Don't bother asking - I am way ahead of you. Yes, I know Sydney gets hot in summer, and you are quite entitled to ask, "But don't your buses have air conditioning?" Yes, a lot do - but more often than not, you will be lucky to get one come your way - and even if you do, half the time they are set to "freeze their knackers off".

For a city that markets itself as vibrant, dynamic and the pulse of Australia, a few more air-conditioned buses should not be a broken election promise - it should be something that is taken for granted - as it is in other major cities around the world.

Another thing - is it possible that bus shelters be located at the actual bus stop and not ten yards away? As many of Sydney's over-paid bus drivers insist on boosting their inferiority complex by being bloody minded and refusing to stop at the actual shelter, insisting on stopping at the yellow sign further along, it would make things a great deal easier for passengers who do not want to stand in the pouring rain or glaring sun, before boarding a bus with Smart Windows or faulty air-conditioning.

While we are at it, why are drivers allowed to have talk-back radio blaring away? For one thing, I do not want to hear some shock-jock catering to the lost and lonely loser brigade (Hi Alan and Ray!) shouting at me when I am on my way to meetings or appointments. Secondly, many Sydney drivers have enough problems with driving as it is - and even stopping at bus stops can be a bit difficult for them, without the added distraction of Alan Jones ranting on about Muslims, immigration and Kevin Rudd.

Wherever you may be - be safe

Copyright Mike Hitchen Online, Lane Cove, NSW, Australia. All rights reserved