November 19 2018 by Jodi Walters
Public Transport has had a bad rap throughout history. Humans have used the bus as a platform for race and class bias in western societies across the world, leaving the humble bus with a stigma that it just can’t shake. Ew, the bus. Right?
As we approach the anniversary of the $2 bus service in Queenstown, I can’t help but feel that stigma is not only alive in Queenstown (I got more than one confused stare when I tried to line up for the bus to Frankton in my Melbourne Cup best two weeks ago), it’s one of the main contributing factors to our town’s traffic woes.
I chose to ditch car ownership five years ago and have relied on taxis and buses ever since. It’s a constant source of amusement for my friends and family who think that me riding the bus is in stark contrast to my sometimes princess-like nature but even more amusing for me, is the inconvenience that people will put themselves through, just to avoid being seen on a bus.
I have friends that sit cursing the awful traffic while they drive their car to a costly car park where it will sit all day before they drive it back home at 5pm. Worse are the people who refuse to pay for a park and then add to the traffic by going to move their car every three hours. I even know people that leave work early and get a colleague to follow them home in a work car to bring them back to town in time for 5 o’clock drinks.
In all these scenarios, productivity is down, stress levels are up, there are additional costs like petrol or parking not to mention the unnecessary polluting of the planet and more one-person cars clogging up the road. The excuses I hear are the best part – ‘I can’t work out the bus timetable’. Well, you’re gonna have some life problems if you can’t decipher a bus timetable. ‘I can’t be bothered walking from the bus stop to my house’. Do you drive your car to the gym to work out? And of course the old pearler, ‘Ew the bus, that’s for poor people’. No, no actually it’s not, it’s for smart people.
I understand that it’s not feasible for everyone to sell their cars and start using the bus but I think it’s time we stopped thinking about the bus as a poor person’s mode of transport and start thinking about it as a viable ‘every-person’ option that’s cheaper, less stressful and more environmentally friendly. What could be better than a $4 return trip to Akarua Kitchen on a sunny Saturday afternoon?