Transperth has just made a decision to increase the maximum number of passengers allowed onto its buses. Yet another sign of the city's inexorably rising population, no doubt.

Being a regular bus and train user myself, I've noticed just how crowded they have become lately. Obviously, peak hours are the worst. That said, things aren't that bad.

Most of the time the buses here are only about half or three quarters full. The main downside is that you tend to get antisocial behaviour on them from time to time. But that problem is not confined to Perth, of course.

Generally, the public transport here is pretty good, if not as frequent as most people would like. Compared to Sydney, where I lived for several years, catching buses here is blissful. In that city they're always chockas. And you're constantly being thrown around as the bus navigates the winding roads and stops and starts suddenly in the busy traffic. Not surprisingly, the drivers themselves tend to be a pretty stressed out bunch, and -- like so many people in Sydney -- are often brusque and unhelpful.

This isn't the case in Perth. Well, not yet anyway ...

Here's an illustration of the difference: About a year back one late afternoon I was waiting for a bus on Charles Street heading away from the city. I saw one approaching and waved it down. The driver stopped briefly, only to say sorry he couldn't let me board because his bus was completely full. He wasn't letting anyone off either.

There was absolutely no way that would have happened in Sydney. I always remember that little gesture because it said something about the city, and what makes Perth such a pleasant place to live. At the risk of sounding a bit saccharine it really is still a very easy going place with lots of friendly, helpful people.