Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Sydney Thoughts

I saw a lad kick a train station ticket barrier and it then opened for him. I think I can still land a kick. Why did we bother to put $50 on our Opal public transport cards? All we needed to do was kick a train barrier but then you can't kick a bus driver and with a $2.50 Senior cap for public transport in NSW including ferries, who would bother. The Senior cap in Melbourne is $4.50 and we don't have public transport ferries.

The bus route changes in the south eastern suburbs are untenable as I see it and must be reconsidered. I expect there will be changes. TfNSW wanted to dump passengers from the south east at the tram terminus to change to the light rail to complete their journey, adding hugely to their travelling time and bad luck if you wanted, as many do, to travel to Oxford Street. There is an interchange at Kingston Kingsford (thanks Victor) that could be used but I can't see a possibility of one being built at Randwick. I am truly surprised this was even suggested. 

Generally public transport is good in Sydney, aside from as mentioned being dumped nearly half a kilometre away from Circular Quay when the quay is the bus destination. I think worse is the absurdly long distance to walk from the Central Station bus stop to the entrance of Central. It took an absurdly long time for the pedestrian lights to show green to cross Pitt Street.

My city Melbourne is referred to as the culture capital of Australia, the sporting capital of Australia and the food capital of Australia. It pains me to say Sydney does basic cafe and restaurant food as we eat better and maybe 10 to 15 percent cheaper than Melbourne. Much better. You can now get good coffee everywhere in Sydney which wasn't always the case. We've had some truly terrible coffee in Sydney to the standard of a dishwater coffee at a country bakery.

Melbourne people are known for wearing black and this goes back decades, but many Sydneysiders seem to have now embraced black clothing. Still, there is no doubt that Sydneysiders dress more casually than Melbournians. 

During past Sydney visits I never noticed commuter cycling, but it is big now. Some effort has been put into cycling lanes along with other cycling infrastructure and that is great to see.

Around Sydney Harbour it is truly beautiful and never ceases to amaze me. The harbour makes it a great tourist city. The Blue Mountains are wonderful, but in between there are many areas of bland and unattractive housing, lots of social problem areas and generally not desirable places to live. It is the same in all large Australian cities.

While it has struck me in the past, I really noticed it this visit. Sydney people are much more friendly towards strangers. Maybe even staff in shops and cafes etc are friendlier. But then customers seemed more friendly towards staff too.

We are all Australians, but depending where we live, we might be a bit different.

A couple of things I haven't mentioned. I did say Melbourne had gone into lockdown in our absence which meant the demand for air travel dropped and flights were cancelled. We were returning by Virgin as its time suited us best. Hotel check out time in Australia is 10am and our flight was for 11am. On the Friday, Saturday and Sunday that flight was cancelled but only an hour to the next one. We were lucky. Monday, the noon flight was cancelled and the 11am went ahead.

Before we met James for a catch up, he kindly sent me a link to download the Services NSW venue check in app. It not something I had given any thought to. In spite of Melbourne having more COVID outbreaks than Sydney, Sydneysiders are much more serious about checking in to venues. Well, they were. Melbournians are now taking checking in seriously. With our app we just check in. With the NSW app, you check in and check out and it was hard to remember to check out. I often did it the next day when I tried to check in to somewhere else. Where the NSW app is really good is that you can add a dependant and when you or your dependant, I suppose that can mean partner, check in you just and once entered the first time just check a box to include a partner. Brilliant, but of course Victoria had to reinvent the wheel and build its own app and not include such a useful addition. Oh how I hate reinventions of wheels. 

23 comments:

  1. Wheel reinvention almost always results in a very clunky ride doesn't it.
    Fortunately our check in app doesn't require checking out. You DO have to check onto and off the buses/trams so I suspect it was an oversight. One that I hope they don't attempt to rectify. If they do a clunky failure is just about ensured.
    Like our Choose Canberra App which supposedly gives healthy discounts to those shopping locally. It failed shortly after it was launched and is still off the air and 'being worked on'.

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    1. EC, do you mean on buses your public transport card does the checking on/off? The Choose Canberra App is interesting. It seems the guv makes a grant and once expended, that is the end.

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    2. Yes we use our public transport cards to check on and off buses. If you don't check off you 'may' be charged the maximum daily rate. The ChooseCBR app is still down. And queries are being made about how over $300,000 could have been spent in its very brief functioning time.

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    3. EC, after trying for one of country state travel vouchers and missing out by seconds, I get how such an amount could so quickly disappear.

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  2. It's been so long since I was in either Sydney or Melbourne, so I can't validate any of your statements here re food, coffee or public transport. I can say that Adelaideans have been checking in at places via phone apps or signing in for many months now. I do hope Melbourne gets this latest outbreak under control soon. I keep hearing "x more cases" on the news.

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    1. River, at least the new cases are all known contacts who have been isolating, so no community transmission, well, until the last couple of days in an apartment block.

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    2. I vividly remember your last Sydney visit.

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  3. Agree about that bus which says Circular Quay but should really say Bridge Street. Maddeningly, I've seen such buses then pull up closer to to the Quay for their rest/reset time before starting a fresh trip out of CQ.

    If buses were more frequent it would be less important for routes to start from the city. The route could then be treated as a big loop in and out from the non-CBD end, so you needn't be dumped at bloody Bridge St.

    Central Station is a beast to get to for the final on foot bit. Really only the exits on the "Eastern" side are reasonably close to the normal train platforms. If you're talking about the lights I think you are talking about, I can well imagine they are shockers. That intersection is overtaxed with cars, buses AND the light rail.

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    1. MC, that is exactly what happened with us. The bus moved further down closer to CQ.

      I have to think hard about your second point.

      You a local and me a non local see the problem to get to Central. It is not good enough. The road is very wide near the Central entrance. God forbid that a lane could be sacrificed for a bus stop.

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  4. All in would you say you had a good time.
    Coffee is on and stay safe

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  5. Melbourne is almost always referred to as the culture capital of Australia, the sporting capital of Australia and the food capital of Australia... and before Covid I think that was absolutely true. But Sydney's Harbour is totally beautiful and its beaches are incomparable.

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    1. Hels, I really think we are falling down in the cheaper food area.

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  6. Wearing black in Melbourne is a thing? Why?

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    1. Strayer, I truly don't know. I remember reading that Melburnians wore a lot of black maybe 25 years ago. I looked around and it was true, and stil is.

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    2. Black doesn't show the marks and smudges that might get picked up on any of the many public transport options, so you can safely go from train to workplace meeting without having to change clothes.

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  7. Wonder did that lad have a sore foot! If you tried to do it it might not have worked.
    Dark colours were always worn in Melbourne when I used to visit and it's often that only dark colours could be purchased and still is here for winter. The Greeks and the Italians often wore black all year around - something to do with mourning way back.

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    1. Margaret, I have to take care of myself now. No kicking anything. I manage to stub my toe often enough.

      You might be onto something about the Greek and Italian influence.

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  8. I've never thought about what people from Sydney might be called. I guess "Sydnans" doesn't really work, does it? Interesting to read your thoughts about comparisons between these two cities, neither of which I've visited. (But I hope to someday!)

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    1. Steve, Sydneysiders or even Sydneyites are acceptable. I just thought Sydinians, but that might cover the Indian population in Sydney. I suppose Melbourne and Sydney are not more different than say Liverpool and Birmingham. Perhaps not so noticeable by outsiders.

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  9. I agree with you that the Sydney Harbour area is very beautiful, and I also agree that there are many suburbs that are old and unattractive.
    Our SafeWA app is also just check in (not out) and we can add a partner which is great.

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    1. Sami, your app sounds the best. It is quite easy to estimate how long someone will stay in a cafe, a restaurant and a supermarket. Maybe check out for pubs is ok.

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  10. I love that we can add people on to our check in app, P has me on his, my sister has me on hers, you can see where I'm going with this, I hardly have to get my phone on at all. Definitely pros and cons in every city Andrew, viva la differance oui 😉

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