Why I use public transport to get around

Sydneytraffic

It was always going to be an amusing day. I was at day 2 of phase one of a roof top herb garden build, which meant I needed to go buy a big load of perlite and also take some compost from home to the job.

Now the best way to by perlite in my opinion is in bulk from a hydroponics store, namely these guys: GreenLite in Bondi Junction. When I say bulk, I mean 100 litres. That’s a big bag of anything but the reason I use it is for its aerating qualities (preventing compaction) and it’s lightweight quality which is what you need when you are building gardens of rooftops.  So a 100litre bag weighs about 10 kgs by my guess. It’s the size that’s the kicker – about 4ft tall and 2ft around its waist (if it had one!).

You can understand how I was thinking maybe I might borrow my dearly beloved girlfriend’s car as this was a bit of a mission in the making.

Thankfully she just used my own words:

“You said “carshare whenever necessary””

“Yeah but I haven’t set that up yet and I need this stuff now!”

“Well you can’t put that on your website, can you?”

“Yeah but…No. I guess I can’t.”

So I sucked it up and went for a mission on the train and I’m here to tell you that I’m really glad I did and here’s why:

By my calculations (well, Google’s actually) the round trip in the car would’ve been 25.6 km and it would’ve taken a total of 56 minutes (which I think is pretty optimistic).

But let’s not forget cost of parking: about $2 in Bondi Junction for the time required to have a quick chat to the boys and see their cool new outdoor vertical display walls and buy the perlite.

Wall mounted planters developed by Chris Allison at GreenLite

An instagram of the back courtyard at GreenLite Hydroponics in Bondi Junction. Go and check out their great new vertical gardening cells

Then the cost of parking in Surry Hills for the 5 or so hours which according to City of Sydney is $2.20 an hour for Crown St precinct, so that’s $11 + $2 = $13.00

So where are we up to?

25.6km in this particular car works out to be 2ltrs. Based on today’s gas prices  = $2.58

So that adds up to $15.58 right?

Let’s not forget the wear and tear on the vehicle: = $3.22, the toll for the tunnel $4.56 (how much?!)

So now we’re at $23.36!

But let’s look at this from another angle, how much do I save using public transport?

So firstly my MyMulti1 card costs $41.00 a week and I can use it anywhere in Zone One as many times as I please, thank you very much J.

Now let’s work out my duration of journey:

Summer Hill to Bondi Junction 36-40 minutes.

Bondi Junction to Central: 14 minutes.

Walk up to the site from Central 13 minutes.

Add walk to and from home 20 minutes.

So that’s between 83 – 87 minutes compared with 56 minutes driving. So you’re probably thinking “Ha! It’s faster to drive and my time is money, dude!”

Now let’s look at what I got done during the commute:

I wrote a blog post and had the idea for this one. Whilst on twitter I got to talking to this guy who sometimes retweets me and this time he suddenly wants me to perhaps build him a balcony garden. I hang out on twitter a little more, read some interesting articles and respond to some emails then make an appointment to see a furniture company about a product I want to have built.

Now let’s look at the fact that I carried a 5kg bag of compost, my gardening kit and 100 litres of perlite up and down hills, stairs, streets and allies. That’s quite a workout let me tell you so I didn’t feel like I needed the gym that day (that’s a saving of about 1.5 hours at least).

Now let’s not forget the potential to talk up your business whilst you’re so visible. Word of mouth is powerful stuff and when people see you lugging a massive bag of stuff plus other kit, they get curious. When you tell them you build nutrient-cycling vegetable and herb gardens on restaurant rooftops, they get this awesome smile on their faces. They (9 times out of 10) say “Wow. That’s cool!”

I know you can make calls in the car but seriously, you can’t write anything down and I really dislike driving in Sydney. This town should just be called No Right Turn City!

With mobile technology being what it is today and the cost of gas being what it is, I love not owning a car and using public transport and cycling for my job. It’s not always going to be the answer for all of my jobs but for the most part, my business is designed around lean and efficient use of resources.

How does your company operate?

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Categories: Whys

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  1. ONE LESS CAR permaculture - Cutting Edge Permaculture - October 16, 2012

    […] include Sydney permaculturist Steve Willis of Urban Greenspace, who has a business ethic of using public transport, bike or carshare services when shifting materials for his restaurant rooftop garden enterprise.  […]

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