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Commuting with toddler to city: options?

By star anise - 27 July 2013 45

My 1.5 yo daughter is changing day care so she is next to my office in the city.

Having undertaken an uncomfortable test run with her on the bus (lots to carry, including child who doesn’t want to sit still), working out that it takes 45mins to get from home to work if traffic is good, and then realising that my current transport costs at the moment tally up to over $10 per day, I’m reconsidering my transport options (*). 

Should I bite the bullet and park in the city for $9 a day?  But do they fill up very early? And goodness, the idea of clunking so much change around with me 4 days per week is painful (and alas prepaid parking only returns savings for full timers – I’d have to pay more for the convenience of not needing a wallet weighed down with change).  

It would be great if the ACT Government had parking options for part time mums!  Advice?

*Currently: I drive my child to day care (suburban Weston Creek), then drive to Woden, use my husbands staff car park ($5 per day), then bus to city ($2.65 each way with MyWay).

What’s Your opinion?


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45 Responses to
Commuting with toddler to city: options?
thebrownstreak69 3:18 pm 28 Jul 13

This is why we drive cars in Canberra.

FioBla 11:36 am 28 Jul 13

There is a morning express from Cooleman Court, through the northwest Weston Creek suburbs (Rivett upwards, not Fisher/Waramanga), to the city.

It’s only one bus, with a return in the early evening. Could help if you have the other trip leg organised.

Nanouk 10:28 am 28 Jul 13

Cycling is a good option. You can pack everything in a backpack (or in additional carry bags), and you won’t lose time looking for a parking etc. Really, it is my favorite option and I am commuting with my boy to day care too… (9km each way, but I have got an electric bike :p)

miz 10:04 am 28 Jul 13

I think the bus could work for you – remember, your littlie will get used to sitting on the bus ‘like a big girl’ in a very short time, and will accept it as part of the morning routine. Kids love buses and love routine, and of course your daughter will be getting older and more settled every day. And of course, preschoolers travel free on buses.

There is always going to be a bit of a trade-off in relation to the length of the bus journey versus pay parking hassles. I agree that there is a gender issue here, as it is often the mothers who do the child care run and work the part time hours, and face a lack of commuter bus services and parking facilities. But if you can get a more or less direct bus with no changing, it is still probably cheaper and less of a hassle than the parking issues you are anticipating (lack of availability for part timers, needing coins, etc).

BTW, good on you for exploring this option.

Innovation 2:25 am 28 Jul 13

My bad. Missed the first line but read the last.

FioBla 9:50 pm 27 Jul 13

With a 5% discount, your trips should be $2.51 each way.

FioBla 9:45 pm 27 Jul 13

>My 1.5 yo daughter is changing day care so she is next to my office in the city.

If it were me, I’d go by private car, yes.

I like buses, bikes, and prefer not to drive.

But traveling from Weston Creek to work (area) with 1.5YO child on a regular basis: I’d use a car. Preferably car pool, but not necessarily so.

The only *out of the box* alternative I can think of now, is an electric cargo bicycle via the cycleway past RSPCA and round the lake in either direction (probably clockwise). It’s a *huge* commitment though.

Mummy 5:48 pm 27 Jul 13

Sad to say but driving and paying for all day parking would be my recommendation. Makes it easier to do the drop off and if someone is not well gives you the option to pick them up quickly. You’ll also be able to make sure you do your hours at work easily without losing more time with your bundle of joy. Let’s not even get into all the stuff you won’t have to cart about.

AsparagusSyndrome 5:35 pm 27 Jul 13

Innovation said :

Looks like you already have it pretty well sorted but TP3000’s suggestion looks good too.

Do you take your husband to work too (or need the car in Woden for his use also)? If not, another idea might be to go down Cotter Rd/Adelaide Avenue, find a free park and cycle the rest of the way. Weston Creek to Woden and then bus to the city is about 27 minutes (not counting for extra time spent parking and walking/waiting for the bus and walking to work). Weston Creek to Albert Hall (although parking there is pretty hard now) is about 11 minutes (at least when the roadworks are finished) and cycling is about 12 minutes. Just don’t park in front of Pitchka’s house…….

Cycling into the city on busy roads/bike lanes… with a 1.5yo toddler … at -3 degrees… and pulling bikes on and off cars / buses. Yes, that would work quite well, I can see that now.

fabforty 5:25 pm 27 Jul 13

Innovation said :

Looks like you already have it pretty well sorted but TP3000’s suggestion looks good too.

Do you take your husband to work too (or need the car in Woden for his use also)? If not, another idea might be to go down Cotter Rd/Adelaide Avenue, find a free park and cycle the rest of the way. Weston Creek to Woden and then bus to the city is about 27 minutes (not counting for extra time spent parking and walking/waiting for the bus and walking to work). Weston Creek to Albert Hall (although parking there is pretty hard now) is about 11 minutes (at least when the roadworks are finished) and cycling is about 12 minutes. Just don’t park in front of Pitchka’s house…….

Cycling ? I think you might have missed the bit about having a toddler and lots to carry.

Innovation 12:55 pm 27 Jul 13

Looks like you already have it pretty well sorted but TP3000’s suggestion looks good too.

Do you take your husband to work too (or need the car in Woden for his use also)? If not, another idea might be to go down Cotter Rd/Adelaide Avenue, find a free park and cycle the rest of the way. Weston Creek to Woden and then bus to the city is about 27 minutes (not counting for extra time spent parking and walking/waiting for the bus and walking to work). Weston Creek to Albert Hall (although parking there is pretty hard now) is about 11 minutes (at least when the roadworks are finished) and cycling is about 12 minutes. Just don’t park in front of Pitchka’s house…….

Masquara 12:48 pm 27 Jul 13

I’m sure your car doesn’t mind “clunking around with four days’ worth of change” – you don’t need to keep it in your pocket!

Madam Cholet 11:36 am 27 Jul 13

Cue anti children, anti working mums, anti car drivers.

We share a Pre-school run for our sins. I have to get to the city and I park for $11 a day behind the police station on my working/drop off days. The only other car parks are short term – 4 hours, which is no good for anyone working longer ours obviously. The multi storey park in city west will alleviate you of the buckets of change problem, but may be more expensive, not sure. There’s also parking under the new Ernst & Young I believe. May be the wrong side of town for you though.

Whilst the gov wants to change our driving habits for public transport habits, they don’t seem to want to take into account that many Canberrans don’t have stock standard 9-5 hours or the ability to drop your kids off by bus and then get into work on time.

My concern for next year when Master Cholet is at Kindy is if I can get a park on the days I will start work later. In the place I park, all the spots are gone early. And to boot, this car park is on the list for development. The fact that the fees have not gone up in two years leads me to believe that development is not too far away either.

TP 3000 9:57 am 27 Jul 13

Out of curiosity, have you tried applying for a Park & Ride permit (save $5 a day), you can enter & leave these car parks anytime of the day for the low cost of $0 (providing you qualify for a permit each month). One condition of Park & Ride permit is having $90 odd on your MyWay card, or Autoload (another saving of .14c/peak hour trip).

Genie 9:30 am 27 Jul 13

Where in the city can you park for $9 a day ?

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