Commuting with toddler to city: options?

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).


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45 Responses to Commuting with toddler to city: options?
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FGC FGC 5:18 pm 31 Jul 13

star anise said :

Hi everyone thank you for your ideas. No easy answer. My favourite option suggested is cycling which, if I didn’t have a child, I would do. However, it is a long trip for a 1.5 year old (14km each way via RSPCA/scrivener dam) on the back of the bike in cold weather (I can’t afford a trailer).

We started our ‘new routine’ this week week and parking in the city. A few people have asked where I get $9 parking – there are a few options (I found them by looking online at the ACT government website on parking): one is the dirt car park on constitution avenue (which is what we’re doing) and the other I believe is around Regatta Point (both require a short walk – I have a stroller in the boot). We haven’t had any issues finding a car park when arriving at 8.40ish. Getting used to the city traffic (maybe laughable in Canberra but we’ve been stopped up on Parkes Way) after being on the bus for so long is a novelty. Getting change has been OK so far, but some shops don’t like exchanging notes for change, I need to find a change machine where I can get a fortnightly or so large amount of change. Any suggestions on that?

PS: not a troll 😉 Hope I’m not a princess for my wanting to be prepared with change (if you’re one dollar out it gets frustrating).

Ebay and Allclassifieds are your friends. Remember a bicycle trailer for a child is the sort of thing that people only have for a few short years and then offload. If you can’t find anything on those pages, head out to Mugga Way and you’ll generally find a few.

A mate lives in Mawson, cycles to Canberra Hospital to drop his daughter off at daycare then rides the rest of the way to work (RMC Duntroon). All year round it’s not a problem, the little’un loves it.

Loathe though I am to be one of those enthusiastic evangelical cyclists, I absolutely love cycling to work and it frees up more time in the evenings and weekends because I don’t need to go out of my way to get exercise to stay fit.

Solidarity Solidarity 4:47 pm 31 Jul 13

Like hell i’d be ridding with a toddler in a trailer anywhere near a Canberran bike lane.

One latte sipping, facebook sitting inattentive dickhead and your kid is dead.

ML-585 ML-585 1:40 pm 31 Jul 13

The coin change machine at your local 24 hour car wash is good source. Just go there when the attendant has left for the day.

KB1971 KB1971 7:32 am 31 Jul 13

star anise said :

PS: not a troll 😉 Hope I’m not a princess for my wanting to be prepared with change (if you’re one dollar out it gets frustrating).

The bank should do it for you. Being in the city there is no shortage of them.

star anise star anise 7:02 am 31 Jul 13

Hi everyone thank you for your ideas. No easy answer. My favourite option suggested is cycling which, if I didn’t have a child, I would do. However, it is a long trip for a 1.5 year old (14km each way via RSPCA/scrivener dam) on the back of the bike in cold weather (I can’t afford a trailer).

We started our ‘new routine’ this week week and parking in the city. A few people have asked where I get $9 parking – there are a few options (I found them by looking online at the ACT government website on parking): one is the dirt car park on constitution avenue (which is what we’re doing) and the other I believe is around Regatta Point (both require a short walk – I have a stroller in the boot). We haven’t had any issues finding a car park when arriving at 8.40ish. Getting used to the city traffic (maybe laughable in Canberra but we’ve been stopped up on Parkes Way) after being on the bus for so long is a novelty. Getting change has been OK so far, but some shops don’t like exchanging notes for change, I need to find a change machine where I can get a fortnightly or so large amount of change. Any suggestions on that?

PS: not a troll 😉 Hope I’m not a princess for my wanting to be prepared with change (if you’re one dollar out it gets frustrating).

vulpior vulpior 1:43 pm 30 Jul 13

Grrrr said :

Mind you, complaining about having to carry $9 in change makes me think OP is either princess – or troll.

It’s not just about having to ‘carry’ the change; it’s easy enough to have as much change as you want in your car. It’s the associated hassle of making sure that you regularly obtain the change that you need before you need it for the week ahead. Remember, this is someone thinking about the implications of a routine change: where and when to sort out the change, what about if sprog is sick one day and I don’t get the change for the coming week, leaving them in the car every morning while I go to the machine to pay. I’m sure it’ll all work out, but it’s a lot to be nervous about with all the other things to be considered.

I wish more car parks were pay-on-exit. Swipe the card, whether it’s a couple of hours in Canberra Centre or four days at the airport.

KB1971 KB1971 8:17 pm 29 Jul 13

Masquara said :

How early does child care start? And which end of Civic do you work in? You could drop off your child in Weston Creek early, drive to Campbell or Turner, park for free and enjoy a 20 minute walk in to Civic most days, and pay for parking one or two days a week if you need to …

This is what I don’t get, she wants to save time but also not waste money.

I would hazard a guess that it would take 45 minutes to drive from Weston into the City, drop the kid off and then drive out to the suburbs to find a park and then walk in. What a convoluted way to get to work. She would be better off sitting on the bus for the 45 minutes and entertaining the child (which BTW would get used to sitting on the bus for that time). I doubt it would save time.

I had the same conversation with a guy from work who lives in Turner, he would drive into Ainslie or somewhere which would take him 20 minutes and then walk 20 minutes. A walk is fine but he lives not far from the bus stop on Athllon Dve, I suggested he walk there and then take the bus which drops him of right in the city near work. He tried it one day & loved it, he could even get on the booze & bus home with no worries if he went out for dinner with friends.

He had this pre conceived idea that the bus would take him ages but its lucky to be 15 minutes from there so it would take him 20-25 minutes all up & he still gets a walk in.

To the OP, just either drive because its not costing you any more or enjoy your time on the bus with your child. Its your choice.

Masquara Masquara 8:12 pm 29 Jul 13

gazket said :

Contrary to pedal power and Greens advice you are not a bad person if you use a car to do your daily traveling needs.

Especially since ALL of ACT’s Greens have used cars for their transport while in the LA. I think Katie Gallagher is the only politician to have caught the bus …

FioBla FioBla 6:34 pm 29 Jul 13

gazket said :

Contrary to pedal power and Greens advice you are not a bad person if you use a car to do your daily traveling needs.

Your talking strawman says that you are a bad person.

Masquara Masquara 6:02 pm 29 Jul 13

How early does child care start? And which end of Civic do you work in? You could drop off your child in Weston Creek early, drive to Campbell or Turner, park for free and enjoy a 20 minute walk in to Civic most days, and pay for parking one or two days a week if you need to …

gazket gazket 5:41 pm 29 Jul 13

gazket said :

Contrary to pedal power and Greens advice you are not a bad person if you use a car to do your daily traveling needs.

You at epic for free bus to civic

typo
You could park at epic

gazket gazket 5:40 pm 29 Jul 13

Contrary to pedal power and Greens advice you are not a bad person if you use a car to do your daily traveling needs.

You at epic for free bus to civic

astrojax astrojax 5:04 pm 29 Jul 13

Grail said :

Since you’re only taking your child to day care in Weston Creek, there’s nothing preventing you riding your bike with empty child trailer/seat the rest of the way in to work. Especially convenient if you get an electric-assist bike, and you’ll be teaching your child good transport &health habits (i.e.: get some damned exercise and don’t rely on pharmaceutical companies to save you from lifestyle disease such as type 2 diabetes).

no, suggest you re-read op – change of daycare is to city (from w/ck) but leccy bike is an excellent idea…

460cixy 460cixy 4:11 pm 29 Jul 13

Children should be seen and not heard

Grail Grail 1:44 pm 29 Jul 13

Since you’re only taking your child to day care in Weston Creek, there’s nothing preventing you riding your bike with empty child trailer/seat the rest of the way in to work. Especially convenient if you get an electric-assist bike, and you’ll be teaching your child good transport &health habits (i.e.: get some damned exercise and don’t rely on pharmaceutical companies to save you from lifestyle disease such as type 2 diabetes).

Genie Genie 1:03 pm 29 Jul 13

JazzyJess said :

Genie said :

Still waiting to hear where this amazing $9 a day car park in the City exists !

They’re all $12+ where I work.

Lena Karmel Lodge on Marcus Clarke. Need to be in 9:30 though.

Hmmm.. Meh. Might stick to catching the bus… still cheaper and this carpark is nowhere near where I work.

astrojax astrojax 12:47 pm 29 Jul 13

miz said :

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.

this is more or less what i’d have said – she’ll learn to sit still and the stimulation of seeing that many new people up close each day will also contribute no end to her general socialisation skills. Buses are cheap and you could perhaps drive one of the days to give you both a break from the bus and provide some flexibility re getting other things done on the way home… and provide better music!

KB1971 KB1971 12:35 pm 29 Jul 13

You need one of these: http://www.picturescolourlibrary.co.uk/loreswithlogo/3087044.jpg

Room for the whole family and free parking!

JazzyJess JazzyJess 12:17 pm 29 Jul 13

Genie said :

Still waiting to hear where this amazing $9 a day car park in the City exists !

They’re all $12+ where I work.

Lena Karmel Lodge on Marcus Clarke. Need to be in 9:30 though.

Genie Genie 11:41 am 29 Jul 13

Still waiting to hear where this amazing $9 a day car park in the City exists !

They’re all $12+ where I work.

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