So many times people tell stories of when things go wrong – when they are stuck in traffic or bad behaviour occurs on the train. The time of day and day of the week will certainly contribute to whether your transport experience is pleasant or ends up being a bad start to the day.
I love walking to the station to catch the train to work and leaving my car at home. Most of the time I arrive at a station, a short walk from where I need to go – just enough steps for me to reach my daily incidental physical activity steps for the day.
Wednesday however, when I was sitting on the train, there was an announcement saying that there was a power outage on the track ahead and the trains were delayed. The driver announced we could get off walk 500m and catch the bus or stay on the train and wait for 20 – 40 minutes until we arrived in Perth. I stood up, followed some passengers out the door and looked at the queue of people in front of me. I ended up returning to my seat. My fellow passengers gave me words of encouragement as I was physically affirming their decision to stay on the train. “I’m not in that much of a rush to get to work!” said one laughing, another said “shame I didn’t bring my book today” we all nodded and agreed – I said I was glad I had mine. We were all able to let go of the stress. We were not moving but it was comfortable on the train.
The train started again, after waiting around 10 minutes. The doors opened at the next station and a work colleague entered my train carriage and sat directly opposite me. What were the chances! We knew that we were going to the same Your Move Forum, so automatically we were both relieved that we were not going to be the only one arriving late.
We were both able to email our colleagues that were attending the same meeting, advise them that we were going to be late and relax. We were even able to do some work emails on the train while we waited.
I arrived 30 mins late (instead of 30 mins early) due to public transport service disruption and delays. What could have been a negative story was able to be changed to a positive story.
I'd much prefer to be stuck on a train with others reading and emailing/messaging than stuck in a traffic jam and still have to find parking once the traffic starts moving again.
The Forum was a good session to highlight the way you can change perceptions via the power of story telling. We had a story that we could tell about how pleasant our train trip was and we shared that to the 50 other people. It was interesting sharing the story as the group were advised that we had been delayed. If we had not shared our positive story, they may have perceived it negatively, just remembering other stories they have heard about unpleasant trips on public transport. Having used public transport for many, many years I have my fair share of interesting stories, but 99% of them are simple friendly things like sharing an umbrella with a fellow passenger, meeting friends on the train unexpectedly or having conversations with total strangers about bike riding (if I have my bike with me) or a good book that I am reading.
We sat on the train opposite one another and were able to sit opposite one another at the Forum and also share our story with others.