Sydney office workers walk to work to avoid public transport

Jul 14, 2020

By Anna Patty

City workers are avoiding Sydney public transport and putting on their walking shoes for an hour-long schlep from home into the office to reduce their risk of coronavirus infection.

Rachelle Kells walks for one hour and 20 minutes from her home in Coogee to her office in Australia Square at least twice a week to avoid crowded buses and fit in some exercise.

Rachelle Kells, Simone Coburn, Cecilia Palmero and Victoria Day walking to work in the city to avoid using public transport. CREDIT:LOUISE KENNERLEY

"It's something I can control," she says. "I can't really control what I'm going to be faced with on the bus.

"If it's not raining and I can get out and walk I'd prefer to do that to protect myself and others."

Australian Bureau of Statistics data from the end of May found the vast majority of working Australians were comfortable returning to work, but close to 60 per cent were uncomfortable with using public transport.

Ms Kells, a senior marketing manager at commercial property landlord Dexus, said she carried hand sanitiser and a mask when she needed to use the bus and had been concerned to see many people failing to observe social distancing.

Rachelle Kells prefers to walk to work than using public transport.

Rachelle Kells prefers to walk to work than using public transport.CREDIT:LOUISE KENNERLEY

Simone Coburn, who also works for Dexus, walks to and from Leichhardt three days a week to avoid the risk of getting infected with the COVID-19 virus on the bus.

She said walking directly to work was a better use of time than going to her nearest bus stop and commuting into the city.

"I've tried to keep exercising during COVID and am a little bit hesitant still to get on the bus," she said.

Ms Coburn said the office shower facilities were regularly cleaned and tightly controlled to regulate the number of people using them at any one time.

She said a Dexus survey of 1000 of its tenants in May found a high proportion of workers have reported exercising less and snacking more while working from home. About half felt less connected at home.

She said she was looking forward to returning to work full time to bounce ideas around with colleagues more freely after spending the lockdown working from home.

Dexus has reported 40 per cent occupancy rates across its office towers in the Sydney CBD and expected this to rise to 60 per cent after the July school holidays.

The City of Sydney has reported an increase in cyclists during the pandemic and is constructing six new "pop-up" bike lanes on existing roads to the west, east and south of the CBD.

The post about “Sydney office workers walk to work to avoid public transport" first appeared on the Sydney Morning Herald website.


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