When public transport goes bad.

Don’t get an itch now. An overcrowded Sydney train.

Public transport is a necessary inconvenience. Like getting dressed or waking up.

It can be an extraordinary windfall if you live near a train station or bus shelter, don’t like getting caught in traffic and never travel during peak hour but at every other time it’s a buzzing centre of suffering.

A peak hour train can be an exercise in sardine-tin-simulation as every nose is forced into every other armpit. Buses perform the vehicular interpretation of the ‘Waiting for Godot’ play and never show up. Public transport is the nerve centre of any city, but oftentimes it’s a frayed one.

The intersection of public transport and humanity can also, sometimes, be a fraught one as throngs of people jostle past each other and apparently forget ever rule of manners they’ve ever learned.

The Japanese have it down to a fine art. They’re quiet. Considerate. Can sleep standing up.

Australians? We’re not quite there yet.

If somebody stands within 30cm (which is almost always) we bristle, yet others have been known to defend the right of their plush toys won after shows to take up entire seats.

It’s all a terrible game of rush-hour roulette.

According to, passengers are willing to pay to escape the less desirable aspects of public transport:

“Public transport passengers are willing to pay as much as $4 on top of standard daily travel costs to avoid an over-crowded carriage, while most would pay an extra 25-per-cent for a premium service to guarantee seats and access to newspapers and Wi-Fi.

Asked how much more they would be willing to pay to avoid service delays, commuters said they would pay $1.15 for every minute, and an extra 66 cents per minute to avoid being late.

What’s your public transport horror story? And what would you pay to see?