Tuesday, September 25, 2007

... mooks on trains

i was very saddened to see the pictures of and hear about the tram collision on st kilda rd yesterday. i am always surprised when i learn of how many tram accidents there are in melbourne. given the high profile trams have in this city, i suppose i shouldn't be. i heart goes out to all those injured and i hope against hope that their experiences do not deter them from using trams again.

i was, however, very annoyed by my experience on the train this morning. boarding the sandringham/flinders st train at elsternwick i sat down on a backwards-facing seat and began reading the latest addition to my 'zine library. we arrived at ripponlea and i spied with my little eye two women standing in the doorway on the left-hand-side (facing forward, so my right hand side) of the train. i thought, perhaps they're getting off at prahran or windsor, since they were dressed quite niftily and might well have worked (although more likely shopped) along chapel st somewhere. they didn't - they ended up getting off at richmond, after deciding moments before the doors closed that that was actually where they wanted to get off and had to plough through a vestibule full of commuters to get out.

at the same time, a man who boarded at ripponlea took up station a third of the way down the aisle. he could have quite easily kept moving down the aisle to make space for additional boarding passengers but chose not to, caught up as he was in reading his "timeout: berlin" guide. one particularly determined woman squeezed past him and was eventually (two or three stops later) rewarded for her efforts with the seat of another alighting passenger.

what is it about commuters - especially rail commuters - in melbourne that makes them cling to the vestibule/entryway of train cars and trams like drowning sailors to life rafts??? there were seats aplenty when these two friends-esque women got on the train; granted there weren't any both facing forward and side-by-side but that's not really any reason to make moving on and off the train difficult for people for the rest of the journey! martin merton i'm not but i don't think it takes a phd to realise that affording fellow commuters a bit of courtesy and thoughtfulness actually contributes positively to everyone's commuting experience.

it pains me to see the gradual transformation of chatty, friendly melbournites into chilly, solipsistic sydney book- and newspaper-readers.

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