Over the years I have had a lot of Ideas(tm) about how the existing public transport system could be improved. For anyone who isn’t from Melbourne or one of the handful of other cities around the world which take public transport as seriously, please ignore these ruminations: Melbourne has great public transport, and we have no right to complain.

I was thinking though… I know a number of people who avoid the Melbroune trains and trams because they don’t like sharing their personal spacewith an unfiltered random slice of humanity. Some of these people have adopted some fairly extreme solutions to the whole getting to/from work thing, many of them expensive.

Methinks: were I such a person, and compelled to drive to work every day, I would now be paying something in the vacinity of $500 per calendar month in fuel, repairs, registration, tolls and parking. That’s a very conservative figure, and I own my car…

Suppose instead, I booked a ‘sleeper’ ticket for the train every morning: my ticket would entitle me to one of the nice comfy individual sleeping compartments on a special carriage of every commuter train. For this privelege I would pay, say, $450 per month. A system built into my phone would estimate my ETA at the station from my movements, book a sleeper on the next train I was likely to make it to, and advise me if I was going to have to wait for a space. The sleeper car would have a whole series of small compartments, somewhere between a TokyoCapsule Hotelexternal link and and a conventional long-haul sleeping berth in size. Each compartment would require a ‘sleeper ticket’ to open.

The complexity of the cost structure involved boggles my poor mind, but I’m sure someone here has the train-geek/logistics sense to determine if this is feasible.

Even a more conservative option might work: first-class commuter tickets and carriages: bigger comfier seats with more personal space, and the assurance that your carriage-mates had to pay extra too, for whatever that’s worth.

We will need to get more of these people on the trains in future, what with the steadily climbing price of fuel. It might be a good idea to get the fussy commuters on-side before you go, for example, banning internal combustion engines within the Central Business District. biggrin

Anyhoot. Should probably be working… *grumble*

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