Saturday, March 13, 2010

Damned Slow

The standard of public transport services came under the radar on Thursday in Parliament. As usual, promises have been made and there is smug satisfaction that the public's perception of Public Transport Services in Singapore have improved, reportedly from 89.5% 2 years ago (i.e. 2008) to 93.8% this year. But as any good student of Statistics will tell you, these numbers on their own do no tell the whole story. I was thus amused when I read today's (Friday 12 March) edition of myPaper. This is a bilingual paper. On page 4, the English edition gave a positive account of the public transport services in Singapore, highlighting the many plans and promises that the LTA and Minister Raymond Lim made yesterday in Parliament regarding public transport services. One of the reasons for these is to wean people off the owning of private vehicles.

Yet, on the first page of the Chinese section of the same paper, we had reports of complaints by some commuters about long waits for buses (a commuter reported waiting 40 minutes in the evening for a bus), and bus bunching. When the long wait seems to be over, and the bus does arrive, it is so full that you can't even board it. So you have to wait another 30 minutes for the next another bus, if you haven't hopped onto a cab already, that is. This story is no fiction. For the last 2 to 3 months, I have encountered the same problem, buses coming infrequently during rush hour, that I have had to wait for a second bus because the first one that finally appeared was full. Those in a greater hurry just hailed for a cab. One wonders if the bus company is cahoots with the cab company.....oh yah, some bus companies (SMRT, SBSTransit) do own cab companies...

So for those who read English only, the transport situation is as rosy as can be. For those who read Chinese only, the transport situation is in a bad shape. For those who read both, well, we don't know what to think.

Of course, to be fair, this doesn't happen for all services. Some are regular, but it just takes one regularly erratic service to leave you with a bad taste, and, inspite of the high cost, to make a beeline to the motor vehicle showrooms.

1 Comment:

yongnote said...

Nobody like to wait for bus. Waiting for 30 minutes is really a torture. Luckily, with mobile phone, I am able to know all the buses arrival time in my area.

For my case, if I know bus 197 is coming, I will walk bus stop A to take 197 instead of taking 7 at bus stop B nearby. It reduces my bus to less than 5 minute. Usually I will do something like going to toilet, buy a drink if I know I have 10 minute before the bus come.

here is the app (yongBus) link for bus arrival app at

Hope with better information access, you do not need to wait for bus anymore....:_)