Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Paid For Travel?

This mornings paper has an article on how people should be paid to travel to work due to the poor state of our public transport. (story)

Well, I travel about 3hrs a day.  90mins each way.  Therefore, I for one am probably well qualified to speak on the matter.

And my view is that this is a ridiculous idea!  I choose to live where I do.  Whilst I bitch and moan on occasion, overall for the price I pay the Blue Mountains run is not too bad.  I get a seat, I get air con, I get a train that is comparatively silent and I can relax.  I can work if I need to, I can read, I can listen to music or I can sleep.  Overall, its not that bad and yes whilst I would enjoy an extra hour at home either end of the day, the reality is anywhere in Sydney is a fair commute.  At least my commute is comfortable.

People need to realise that we live in a big city and if you want the bigger salaries to pay for the bigger mortgages, then that’s the way it is otherwise, head to a remote country town.


DM said...

I'm personally in two minds on the subject.

This initiative has several things that positively favour it, the biggest one being pressure being put on business to decentralise away from the major centres to reduce travel time (and stress) for their staff. Not everyone takes the train to work, and of those that do, if you're close to the city you're forced into overpacked metro trains like sardines. For those on Buses, getting only a few k's each day is a horrific ordeal and we won't mention what drivers have to contend with.

But whilst decentralisation of business is a great thing for the staff, it's not necessarily the best thing for business - nor do I believe using a stick against business is the answer to this problem - what they should have done instead is significantly increase the incentives for business owners to relocate themselves. I always find the carrot is better than the stick.

Besides, with probably a million plus in Sydney who would stand to gain from this situation, you're talking about added pressure to the inflation rate, which is something that should really be avoided at the moment.

A winning option for commuters who want compensation for the (sometimes) 10's of hours they lose each week on public transport, but I think it's a short sighted grab for voter sentiment than a real serious attempt at fixing the problem, largely brought about by government's inadequate expenditure on the public transport network in the first place.

In short, this is an attempt to lure voters away from government incompetence and failure in duty of care to provide adequate infrastructure.

Daniel Bowen said...

All good points Clay. But what if you regularly worked while on the train, and that time was recognised by your employer as being productive time?

Clay said...

But Dan, they don't. I also on a personal level found that getting on the train in at 7am and working on the laptop until 8:30am in transit and then adding on another 90mins of work on the train home in the evening (and I typically get on the 6:30pm or 7:00pm) was so draining that I had to stop.

Now, I leave the laptop at work and if something is pressing I will stay in the office. Work is for work, but I really do need that time to unwind.

If the expectation was that I HAD to work, then thats the employer blurring the line between office time and out of office time and then they should pay... but that would be my company's decision and shouldnt be the decision of the Govt.

Also, if my company said "we give you a laptop with the expectation that you use it at home or on the train to work" I would reconsider my choice of employer!