Extreme Commuting: The Trials Of Traralgon

After an unexpected week-long delay because I am a moron who can't read trackwork notices properly, I finally finished my Victorian extreme commuting experiment with a trip to Traralgon. How could you not love a route with stations called Bunyip, Moe and Nar Nar Goon?

The trip to Traralgon ties with the journey to Eaglehawk as the longest I'm taking during this experiment, at just over two-and-a-quarter hours. But while Eaglehawk only receives a couple of trains a day, Traralgon is much better served, with a dozen services each day on weekdays.

The journey

The 1028 service isn't crowded -- I easily get a seat to myself. It has one feature I hadn't noticed before: near where the area for bikes is (itself a useful innovation which Sydney could usefully copy), there's a visible power point. I'm guessing it's used for the cleaners. Unfortunately, passengers running short of battery can't take advantage, since it's locked.

The other technology working travellers need is mobile signal, and this line shows up as the best of the five journeys -- there was no drop-out that I noticed.

Traralgon itself is the busiest terminus I've encountered during this experiment: it's actually built into a shopping centre, which is a stark contrast to most of the other destinations I've visited. With that said, it's still not busy enough to need both platforms: the other platform is now used as a community arts centre.

Could you do this commute daily?

Easily: as we've already noted, the timetable is regular enough for any Melbourne CBD office job. At over 4.5 hours every day, however, it would definitely qualify as extreme commuting. And that's something that hasn't really been true for most of these Melbourne journeys when compared to the Sydney experience.

What I still find a more striking contrast is the pricing. On a value-for-kilometres basis, the prices in Sydney are much cheaper than Victoria. Of course, this isn't really an area where there is direct competition: if you need to use public transport, you have to pay the going rate. From that point of view, I'd still rather commute from Wollongong to Wendouree.


    Time for a philosophical question.
    The entire basis of your extreme commuting series is based on people having to work in or close to the CBD of a major city. For a lot of people this is a daily reality, but why? Why do businesses think they need CBD offices?
    I have worked from home for nearly 18 months now and find that my productivity has increased markedly. Not only do I save time commuting but also avoid those office rituals that eat into your day such as a defined lunch break, trips to the coffee shop and "water cooler" discussions. I accept that working from home may not be for everyone, but why CBD offices? For most businesses it is not as if the location encourages any walk in business. I spent 6 years travelling to the CBD to sit at a desk and do exactly the same as what I now do from home. Often I would email or message the person next to me rather than disrupt the hum of the office with our conversation - nothing has changed.
    Given the high price of even a modest CBD office why aren't businesses moving to the suburbs or urban fringes closer to their workforce and in cheaper more easily accessible accommodation?

      I totally agree, unfortunately many businesses, well the management anyway, think that seeing a person in the office means productivity, or any of the other corporate buzzwords they have. But I think the opposite is true. If I am in the office, a good half of my day is generally wasted having to talk to my co-workers to 'appear' that I like them, when ordinarily, if I met these people outside of work I would not have any desire to get to know them. Strange thing this work thing is.

      I prefer to work from home, I am most productive when working from home, and I loose less of my life commuting, which I do not get paid for, which btw is a good 2.5 hours of my day wasted sitting on a train. This equates to 12.5 hours a week, or 650 hours a year, 27 days a year (almost a whole month), where I am sitting on public transport going to or from work, not getting paid a cent, not able to spend it doing what I want to do, not being able to spend it with my family.

      What the hell are we thinking. Business claim to be pro life work balance, but then force you to go to an office, which cost them money to supply, just so that you can sit at a desk, and look like you are being productive, waste 1/12 of the year commuting to that location on your own time, time that could otherwise be spent doing a hobbie, playing with the kids, spending time with the husband.

      I wish business would have urban hub offices where you could work from, and spend 10 mins a day commuting, or offer the ability for their workers to work say 3 days a week from home, and come to the office the other 2, or work solely from home, and telecommute (hmm, FTTP NBN would be nice), or work from home, and go to a hub office when required. It would make more sense, save the business money in not having to lease expensive offices, or lease less office space in the city, and make their workers much happier, and more productive.

    The power outlets on the VLocity trains do work about 90% of the time, I charge my phone with them regularly (and in the first-class locomotive-hauled trains, there's a power point at each end of the First Class carriage for passengers to use)

    The Traralgon Line is unique as well, with Pakenham being the only Metro station that you can (legally) get on and off of a V/Line Train at, and that there used to be Suburban Electric services up as far as Warragul until the late 90s


      if you get on a V/Line train at a Metro station that's heading to Southern Cross, or get off an outbound service at a Metro station, you can be fined if Authorised Officers happen to be around

    Not really sure what the point of this series is. Is it suppose to help people decide whether to move out to the fringes of society?
    People who live out in the sticks already know how long it takes to go to the city.
    People who live in the city don't really care about how long it takes to get out to the sticks.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now