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The daily drudge

Well, what can I say, I’ve survived 1 1/2 weeks of living and commuting in Sydney … there are a number of differences (both good and bad) between Melbourne and Sydney that I’ve experienced so far, but I’m getting a handle on things and starting to feel a little more settled.

The biggest shock to my system is having to leave home at 6.25am to catch the first of two trains at 6.47am – eventually I finally walk into my office building at 8.00am pretty much on the dot … it’s quite a ‘quick’ trip (in comparison to the one going home) because it’s an express train with limited stops.  To get home it can take me 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours after leaving work … that means between 3-4 hours travelling time each day being wasted sitting on public transport, whether it be standing shoulder to shoulder with dozens of other commuters on the actual train or standing on the train platforms waiting for the next train to arrive.  Oh how I wish it wasn’t so crowded that I could make better use of that time by stitching, but as it is I count myself lucky if I can find enough space to put my book up in front of me for reading!!

One difference between Melbourne and Sydney is their trains … Melbourne have single-level carriages, while Sydney have double-level ones – doesn’t make any difference, though, in both cities they’re all overcrowded at peak times, and I’m certainly not doing the trip each day for the enjoyment factor!

Another difference between Mel and Syd is that train tickets in Mel are issued for 2-hour time periods or all day travel, and stations are separated into zones of travel.  There used to be 3 zones, but now there are 2 – you could buy a ticket for travel just within one zone or between all zones, for one set price.  This is great value if you spend a fair bit of travelling and want to pop out at a couple of different stations – you can hop on and off as much as you want … and something else I LOVE about Mel transport is that the same ticket covers you for not just trains, but trams and buses as well!  In Syd you pay sector fares for your journey instead, and basically buy a one-way or return ticket … you leave the station at your destination point and that’s it, your ticket is finished.  This can be a cost-effective way to travel is you just want to travel point-to-point, but not in other ways.

 Take last Monday as an example … Monday Mum returned home, so she came in on the train with me in the morning – when I spoke to the gentleman in the ticket office about my personal options for buying a ticket (I wanted to buy a weekly ticket, but needed to travel two extra stops to drop Mum off at the airport, then return to Mascot again to start work), I had to pay $17.40 for a one-way ticket to the International terminal (bearing in mind it normally costs me $16.80 for a return ticket to work for the day!!) … then I had to buy another ticket just for two stations away at another $13.40 (yikes!!
), followed by another $8.40 to return home again at the end of the day.  Daylight robbery, is all I can say!!! 😦

Talking about Mum, unfortunately the poor love got stuck at the airport from 8.00am until 4.30pm due to a cancelled plane service to Christchurch and people having to now travel via Auckland (darn-it) … eventually though she got home, but is no doubt even now still recovering!

Before Mum went home we had some wonderful social outings – it was Brenda’s birthday last Thursday, so we went out to a Malaysian restaurant at Castle Hill for a delicious dinner with all of us plus one more of Brenda’s closest friends (who I like a lot) … then on Friday we had a BBQ at home with some of Nigel’s work colleagues.  This weekend I’m being a lazy slob and hoping to get a tiny bit of stitching done, so no social outings for me this weekend!  I get home too late and too tired to do anything during the week, so I need to start making use of my spare time.  Tomorrow, though, my first job is to head out to the local Post Office to open a PO Box at Mascot so I can organise my mail to be redirected (it’s been piling up in Melbourne for a couple of weeks now!), and pick up my Sydney “e-tag” for the toll roads here.  Yes, that’s yet another of the differences between Mel and Syd (cash toll booths and many toll roads).

Anyway, I’m feeling a bit wrecked, so I might call it a night – I started off writing this quite eagerly, but my eyes are half-closed already and my mind has become extremely foggy … so time to sign off before I fall asleep in a pile of drool at my keyboard!!

My apologies to people I owe emails to, and also for the fact I’m not blog reading much at the moment … with my lack of spare time blogs are a bit of a low priority for now – hopefully, though, things will change eventually 🙂

3 thoughts on “The daily drudge”

  1. Oh you poor thing. I had to do a commute like that when I worked in London. A good hour an a half to get in and up to 2 hours to get home. I didn’t get a seat a lot of the time too so I know what you mean about finding enough space to hold your book up! It’s horrid isn’t it? It’ll be awful on hot humid days – ewww. I eventually decided to get a slower train that had more seats, so it took even longer but I got to sit down and it was much nicer 🙂

  2. I remember those long commutes – I used to have a 95 minute train ride each day (for 10 years). Thankfully, however, the trains weren’t crowded, so I always had room to stitch.

    Nowadays, I live 2 blocks from work – live is so much easier!

    Does Sydney have any kind of weekly or monthly pass available for trains? I know here in Chicago you can get a CTA pass for 30 days, which gives you unlimited travel on the train or bus. Makes life much easier. We also have a $5 all day ticket, too.

  3. Public transport is so confusing! They have zones and time limits for valid tickets here, but I like the idea of being able to use one ticket for bus, tram, or train. Bus and tram tickets are interchangable, but train tickets are another matter altogether. Overcrowded public transport sounds very familiar – like you, I was happy if I had enough elbow room to read a paperback.

    Glad you’re getting a handle on it all!!!

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