For many people travelling by public transport is what you do when your car has broken down, is being serviced or you don’t have one at all. Public transport may be the way you get to work in the CBD where the streets are congested, parking is limited and the fees are high. Maybe you choose public transport because it is more environmentally friendly. Perhaps you have to resort to public transport when there is a petrol strike. It is unlikely you choose public transport because it is fun or uplifting.
For the past few months I have been catching the 7.19 am train into the city on Monday mornings. I have been surprised to find it is often a fun ride! One day a fellow commuter had a birthday. Her friend wished her a happy birthday and suddenly everyone around was talking to her, wishing her a good day and asking if she had any special plans. Someone started to sing, ‘Happy Birthday’ and a number of people joined in. There was a lot of laughter.
This morning there was a buzz of conversation and the vibe was good. Yes, the train was crowded and before we got to the city, many people had to stand. However, no one was complaining. People were chatting to their friends and others got drawn into conversations. The stranger sitting across from me commented when the driver announced one of the stops and we spoke briefly. No Monday morning blues. What a nice way to start the working week.
One weekend there was a man playing a guitar on the train. He and his friend were singing and it was lovely. It was also so unexpected. Sometimes there are children enjoying an outing with a parent or grandparent. Their excitement can be contagious as one starts to see the trip one has done so often through fresh eyes.
I often enjoy a train ride as a time to think, read or write some notes for something I want to write. Other times someone will start talking and I learn something new or feel inspired when I get off the train. One day a lady in her eighties told me she was off to a knitting group. She said they make all sorts of things for different charities. One of their projects had been the knitting of little booties for penguins that had been affected by an oil slick.
Yes, travelling on public transport is sometimes uncomfortable in some way. There are times when people are unpleasant or one has to witness rudeness or an argument between others. However, there are plenty of times when it is a pleasant experience and one never knows what will happen next.