Three weeks since crashing the car, I’ve had a fair bit of time to reflect on what it’s like getting public transport to work.
And whether it’s 6 o clock in the morning or 10 o’clock at night, the quirks and joys of commuting are easy to see.
First of all, there’s the timetable. Within a week I’d ditched the train in favour of the tram purely because of the inconvenient times and frustrating platform waiting.
I don’t mind walking a fair trek out of my way if it at least keeps me vaguely in charge of my own destiny.
The tickets are a bit of minefield. Peak v off peak. Travelcards. Bonus excess cards. We’ve got it all. And none of it seems to save me any money.
Then there’s what to do when on the tram. Heaven forbid you speak on the phone – although silence is not quite as expected as on the tube, it’s still a heavy unwritten rule.
Anyone who breaks it is a trailblazer. I found myself unwittingly fascinated by the yarn a girl was spinning on the phone the other day to a friend who’d broken the heart of some guy. A real life soap opera.
Speaking of people, public transport is an amazing snapshot of city life. All ages, including the kids who climb on the handrails, shapes and nationalities. It’s pretty interesting watching them actually.
That is when I’m not checking out my phone like everybody else. My data has almost run out for this month already with three weeks to go thanks to public transport. Ouch.
I’ve even seen two former pupils. Naturally I kept my head down and didn’t acknowledge I’d seen them. They can’t find out I’m a real person outside school obviously.
(And to be fair I’d have no doubt embarrassed them in front of their friends. It’s better for everyone this way).
And the worst of all is when the service stops working. What do you do? Last weekend the trams simply stopped running and I found myself stranded six miles from home in the rain at 10 o’clock at night.
I did what any self respecting person would do…and inadvertently ran/walked the six miles home emerging like a drowned rat into our house about 11 o’clock.
So now we’re actively exploring a replacement car and I’ve got to say I can’t wait. Sitting in your own space, with the radio on, getting from a to b with the minimum of fuss.
Apart from the traffic. Urgh. Life as a commuter is perennially frustrating.