When the MRT was first setup, I was curious about it. After a while, I noticed that it arrives according to the dictation, less than 4 minutes of waiting. Over the years, I’ve noticed that I have to wait for 7 minutes for the next train should I have the unfortunate fate of walking towards closing doors and risk losing my leg or arm.
After so many years, the fares have increased from 20 cents (I think) to 90 cents for 3 train stops. Now, I wonder if the price for 2 train stops will be $1.20 onwards since the price of oil has been rising despite the MRT not using any petrol, diesel or whatever liquid fuel for any matter. It uses electricity that is generated from the power station or somewhere.
The slogan for SMRT is Moving People, Enhancing lives. Is that what they are doing? Moving people alright but at what pace? Can we actually reach from one end of Singapore to the other end in 20 minutes using the train? No. I have tried and it took me 1.5 hours, the fastest was only 1 hour and 15 minutes. By car, it would have taken me 20 – 30 minutes provided that all the traffic lights are green and no traffic jam.
In what ways have our lives been enhanced? I see people blocking the whole stretch of the platform at popular stations like Jurong East, Outram Park, Raffles Place, City Hall, Bugis, Ang Mo Kio and Bishan. None of them will let me alight unless I’m using a long umbrella that is wet, using a large bag to barge my way through or holding a hot kettle. All these are during peak hours.
I’ve met different people in the trains such as telling others to move into the middle of the car, inconsiderate people taking up floor space, loud music that not everyone enjoys, non-existing announcements of the stops, loud or soft announcements of the stops, people eating and drinking to their hearts’ delight and many others.
I have even had elderlies rushing into the train to grab that available seat they have already marked with their eyes. Another elderly lady attempted to poke me with her umbrella despite a lot of people alighting. It’s very rare to see someone giving the seat to an elder or pregnant lady.
World class transport means that it’s supposed to be efficient. It does arrive on dictation, after 11 minutes of waiting. It shouldn’t stop violently due to some other train still at the station. Signals should be given way ahead. Or have they until the driver belated sees the red light?
If the price of the rides have to be increased, service such as waiting time should be improved. It isn’t reasonable if the price increased but the cleanliness and waiting time standards have gone down the drain.
There should also be transparency such as delays that don’t let others speculate about suicides on the tracks. Speculation is to be expected if there is train delays. Don’t just state that there will be a delay and sorry for the inconvenience caused. It can’t quench the cat’s curiosity thirst.
Finger pointing isn’t even needed. Just facts and transparency. I thought going for interviews state that as employees, we should own up to mistakes? Commuters don’t really care much about how long the inquest for such incidents will take, just that they need a solution to their transport problem.
All these factors determine why we are taking the public transport. Increasing the taxi fares don’t help because everyone is trying to earn more money. Everyone is out to win, not lose. While the buses have less graffiti, the waiting time still needs to be improved.
Taxis are there to provide a more personalised transport mode. Buses are there to provide a general mode, albeit more than the train. Trains are there to get us to the general area. Changing between trains and buses are common, it’s how much of a hassle.
If you have to change from bus to train to bus just to get from Seng Kang to Tampines or Bedok, what mode of transport would you choose? How long do you think the public transport will take? 20 minutes? 50 minutes or even an hour?
Are the commuters’ voices being heard in the first place? Are the ones stating all the changes and implementing them taking the public transport at the same time as those commuting to work? Do they even know?