Our Public Transport Nightmare

A couple of weeks ago hubby and I made the impromptu decision to go for a trip into Melbourne. We thought it would be exciting to take Princess Toddler to the Children’s Museum, so complete with picnic lunch packed we set off. Having being stuck countless times in horrendous weekend traffic, and thinking it would be a fun idea, we decided to take the train in.

We drove to our nearest train station (a 20 minute drive took us to one where trains come more than once a day). We easily found a park and to our delight found out that tickets are only $2.50 all day on Sundays. A lovely teller gave us our tickets and cooed after our daughter. Beautiful! We had to wait at the station for only 10 minutes and we were on board.

Princess Toddler absolutely loved the train. She looked out the window the whole time and showed ‘snake’ (rubber, not real) all the sights along the way. Hubby and I even had the chance to read a paper as our daughter happily munched on her picnic lunch (luckily we had the foresight to pack an extra sandwich for the sea-sawing nature of her appetite.)

After a little trouble trying to find the right street after coming up through the lift at the station, we found the Museum. We enjoyed a picnic lunch in the park (though the ducks were a little terrifying not only to our daughter, but myself as well). We then headed to the entrance of the Museum. We spent a fantastic three hours there and were thrilled by the Children’s Museum. There was so much for a toddler to explore there that nearly two hours was easily filled. Our daughter amazingly slept in her stroller as hubby and I enjoyed a coffee before heading back on the train.

As we waited for our train ride home again, hubby and I enthusiastically talked with Princess Toddler about our day and told each other what a brilliant idea it was catching the train in. That was until the trip home. All was going well at first. Our daughter again loved showing ‘snake’ everything there was to be seen outside a train window. And then there was an announcement by ‘the train driver.’ The voice that carried loudly through the carriage let it be known that it was his last day as a train driver and so he didn’t care what he said. He went on to say in colourful terms, with the F word most forthcoming, that he was a pedophile who had a preference for children under the age of three.

At this point I involuntarily gripped my two year old a little tighter and tried to fathom that this was actually happening. A second announcement came on, this time with more explicit detail of what he liked to do to little children, more use of the F word, and an invitation for parents to bring their children up to the driver’s carriage for his own amusement. Some people on the train seemed completely oblivious to the filth coming through the PA while others looked equally as outraged as myself and my hubby.

I quickly whipped out my mobile and called 000. The police, to their credit, took details and called me back after the announcements had ceased, just ten minutes later. It seemed someone had got into the system and run the ‘prank’ and the real train driver had notified police straight away.

To say I was mortified that this could happen was an understatement. I am still outraged that this can go on with our public transport system. As if there aren’t enough problems with fares, frequency of trains, cutting of services, lack of staff, this really steps it up a notch. Needless to say, hubby and my excitement over a quick, inexpensive, easy and fun way to head into the city with our toddler for the day had been overshadowed.

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