Caught (up) in traffic

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Melbourne airport departure

Here are some photos taken at Melbourne Airport when I traveled to Sydney to spend a few days there prior to returning to Manila.

Airport terminal driveway

One of many machines allowing for self check-in

Automated bag-drop allows one to weigh and check-in luggage. You have to put on the tags on your luggage yourself after they are printed out by the machine.

Fundraiser for seeing eye dogs

The way to the gates is lined with shops

Passengers checking the status of flights

The airport terminal doesn’t seem to be crowded (maybe only during the time I was there?) and you can easily get a seat near any of the cafes/restaurants at the terminal.

A look at the spacious area where passengers can have a meal or refreshment while waiting for their boarding times.

The escalators lead to the lower level where there are lounges and a path to the exits

At the lower level are more cafes and shops. I bought myself a pair of shades at the Sunglass Hut there.

There were already many passengers waiting at the gate when I arrived a few minutes before the boarding call.

Vending machines, a donation box for UNICEF and another one of those mother dog and puppy devices for donations for seeing eye dogs.

Melbourne taxi rides

I took taxis between the airport and the serviced apartment where I stayed at in Melbourne. Both rides were uneventful ones and I enjoyed the good service provided. Uber is also available but Melbourne taxis appear to be providing an obviously higher quality of service compared to what you can get in Metro Manila.

The following photo shows a couple of stickers that inform the passenger(s) about standard fares and the applicable tolls should the taxis use tollways and therefore incur additional costs.

One can pay cash or opt to use a debit or credit card to pay for taxi fares. And you can get a receipt that you can use to account for your transport expenses. That is, the receipt is useful for reimbursements.

For both my rides, I didn’t encounter any unruly taxi drivers. One was a bit chatty but I enjoyed the conversations about life in general. I learned that he was originally from Somalia and had a son studying in university. He said he was very happy with his life in Australia and was thankful of his job that enabled him to support his family including being able to afford to send his children to schools. I guess he is one of the lucky immigrants there and his hard work paid off in this country where the environment generally rewards hardworking people with much opportunities to improve their lot.

Taxi operators and drivers in Metro Manila should learn about what good service is all about from taxis abroad. Perhaps they can pick up a good thing or two for how they can improve services and thereby reducing if nor eliminating  the bad impressions people generally have about them that have led to ridesharing services to become quite popular. A significant improvement in taxi services can be rewarding in terms of ridership or patronage.

Melbourne’s transit system

One thing I always look forward to whenever I am traveling is to try out the public transport system of the cities I am visiting. My first day in Melbourne gave me an opportunity to familiarize with the city’s transportation including the trams and bikeways. Following are some photos I took as I went around the city center on-board their trams. I actually purchased a myki card but discovered a bit later that tram rides were free when you’re within the zone defining the city center. You only need to swipe or tap when you leave the zone where transit will charge the corresponding fares to your destination.

Tram passing by the stop where I decided to stand by to take a few photos while familiarizing with the network map.

Melbourne transit network map and information on priority seats

Inside the circle tram that goes around the city center

Typical transit stop

Vintage tram

Tram crossing an intersection

Modern transit vehicle

I found Melbourne’s transit to be quite efficient and the coverage was comprehensive enough considering the city was walkable and bicycle-friendly. This meant people had many options to move about and this mobility definitely contributes to productivity. More on transportation in Melbourne and Sydney in future posts.

Melbourne airport arrival

I traveled to Australia recently to attend a symposium on Sustainable Development in Melbourne. As such, I was able to observe and experience transport in a couple of major cities – Melbourne and Sydney. I arrived in Melbourne via Sydney at┬áTerminal 1, which is for the domestic flights of Qantas. Here are some photos upon my arrival at the airport:

Upon deplaning, we proceeded through the shared departure areas with the shops and restaurants to go to the baggage claim area.

Baggage claim area

Guidance for those taking a taxi from the airport

Machine for paying airport parking fees

Taxi queue at the airport – the queue appeared to be long but there were many taxis so it didn’t take long to get one to the hotel. The airport had staff to direct passengers and taxis to the designated berths.

I will be writing more about transport in Australia in future posts. It is always a good thing to experience transport in cities abroad. And of particular interest for me when I was in Melbourne and Sydney was their cycling facilities so I will also feature those in future articles.