- Tech & Gadgets
- BRW. lounge
Published 17 October 2012 05:54, Updated 18 October 2012 04:35
Smartphone-enabled social cramming may be distracting commuters enough to make them less cranky about the time spent on the way from work to home. Photo: AFP
Sydney has been named the fourth-worst major city in the world for public transport, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers. Train tickets cost more than in New York and London. Apparently commuters in Mumbai or Moscow have it better than commuters from Maroubra or Minto.
Interestingly, consumer complaints about traffic, transport and road tolls have subsided in our Sydney-based research at Ipsos Australia in the past two years and I have a theory about why.
While some might assume this has something to do with the change of state government, I think there is a more profound, obvious reason: the smartphone.
Glance around the shelter, the stop, the platform, the bus seats or the train carriage and you will see your fellow commuters on their smartphones or tablets distracting themselves from the wait and the slow crawl. For those eager to escape the screen, then there is always MX.
“For me, if I had to travel an hour a day on the train, I’d buy a tablet.”
“I am on the bus on the phone all the time. Online Facebook is my get-through-the-bus-trip remedy. Checking email, the bank account.”
“I bought a tablet the other day, but more for [my daughter] than for anything else. As we are driving, she can watch movies or she can play games, jump on ABC online. It’s a lot more interactive.”
So bad news for commuters is good news for commuter media (including “traditional” media such as outdoor).
Trendwatching.com argues that in congested Asian cities consumers queuing for transport or stuck in traffic are using their time and technology to engage in “social cramming”. “People want to cram in as many social interactions, experiences and group activities as possible into their day and will adopt any tech or app that lets them do that in multiple and creative ways.”
There is plenty of social cramming happening on the substandard transport network in Sydney and it may be distracting commuters enough to make them less cranky about the time spent on the way from work to home.
Perhaps Barry O’Farrell should buy shares in Apple.