To be a working Aucklander is to be a commuter, and to be a commuter in Auckland is to drive.
Tell me about it. I swear, BF would rather eat nails than get on a bus.
I can probably count the number of times he has bussed in the last three years on one hand. The last time would have been late last year when he spent a morning at Auckland Uni taking part in a study (on party pills no less; they drugged him up, paid him and taxiied him home. We went over to a friend’s for poker that night and in his addled fudgey state he lost $20) and driving in wasn’t an option.
Even right now, when we have no car, and he occasionally has to get somewhere, he snubs buses. He’s been lucky that he’s usually able to borrow his brother’s scooter. Like I say, are you too good to bus? I think not. But if he can avoid it, then kudos to him.
Who in their right mind would bus when they don’t have to? Some people do. Bussing, assuming you’re on a fairly modern bus and not one of the rickety old ones, is rather restful. Occasionally I get on the bus, shut my eyes, and let my head loll in a fairly good semblance of sleep until I reach town. Sometimes I sit there and mentally draw shorthand outlines. Most of the time though, I just let go, relax and space out. I find that more restful than closing my eyes and trying to sleep.
Like Greg Dixon says, riding the bus lets him get on with simply being the passenger. And that’s really nice. To have the freedom to watch fellow passengers, wonder about the person on the other end of their phone conversation, about the book they’re reading, about how uncomfortable their boots look, about where they live and what they do and what they’re like. You can observe them discreetly and wonder what makes them tick.
It’s a weird little sort of microcosm to observe others in. Some are regulars; you see them on certain days of the week, or going in in the mornings and out at nights. You get to see the same faces and the same bus drivers. You almost get to know a bit about them and their routines, without ever speaking, and wonder what happened when they don’t get on at their usual stop one morning. For the nosey among us, for the peoplewatchers, there’s no better fodder for observation to be found than on a bus.
I think one of the main benefits of bussing would be the time to yourself. I worked with someone who would do all of his reading on the bus. It’s a good use of commute time – instead of thinking about driving, you can use that time to do whatever you like (within reason, obviously).
I wouldn’t snub the bus, but I never quite figured out the bus system here in LA. Plus, we were lucky enough to be able to carpool so it never seemed to matter…
Definitely. I don’t enjoy driving, and I think I’d hate to slog myself through traffic twice a day.
Carpooling in Auckland is really hard – people travel to work from all over, and there are so many small workplaces that the odds of finding someone who lives close to you and is willing to carpool with you are pretty slim! Especially if you work odd or rotating shifts.