The desire to ensure children get every opportunity is taking its toll on parents, cars and weekend traffic, with mums and dads spending on average a full working day each week on ‘parent taxi duties’.
A national survey by Allianz Australia found nearly 61 percent of parents spend up to eight hours every week on ‘taxi duty’, with 12 percent spending nine or more hours a week picking up and dropping off.
One such parent, Maria admitted she spends upwards of 18 hours every week driving her two children around to various swimming, gymnastics, dancing, preschool and primary school. The grueling schedule has left her exhausted emotionally, mentally and physically.
The report found most of the driving was done on weekends, with 44 percent of parents surveyed saying they up to three hours driving their kids around every Saturday, with more than a third (36 percent) saying they do the same on Sundays.
As well as the extra wear and tear on parents and their cars, the mass shuttling of children to sporting events and other extra-curricular activities has had a significant impact on weekend traffic levels, with congestion on some capital city arterial roads worse during certain periods on weekends than during the weekday peak.
According to Fairfax Media, Military Road between Cremorne and Neutral Bay in Sydney takes longer on weekends than weekdays during the afternoon peak, with average speeds around Cremorne dropping as low as 24 km/h at 5pm on weekends.
Other Sydney roads suffering high weekend congestion include Pittwater Road, Gladesville and the Pacific Highway between Gordon and Pymble
In Melbourne, Plenty Road on Melbourne’s northern fringe is among that city’s worst on the weekends, particularly in the morning, with Point Cook Road, Thompsons Road (westbound) in Cranbourne East, Centre Road Bentleigh, and Alexander Parade, North Fitzroy also failing to providing any weekend relief.
Kid’s activities aren’t totally to blame though. Weekend trips are much more varied than the daily commute and build up around retail areas, with weekend shoppers also adding to the fray.
Then there’s the fact that public transport is less frequent on weekends, which forces people into their cars.