“Singaporeans are generally happier with the overall standard of public transport services here, compared to a year earlier” (Singaporeans Happier With Public Transport, Miss Esther Au Yong).
I refer to the parliamentary report on Singapore’s public transportation system – “Singaporeans Happier With Public Transport” – by Miss Esther Au Yong.
Singapore has one of the best public transportation systems in the world; the network of buses, trains and taxis has been developed and respectively enhanced throughout the decades. Nevertheless, the traditional challenges of a rapidly-increasing population and limited geographical space remain pertinent; and they are further compounded by emerging urban concerns such as road congestion and even global warming. In essence, the increase in demand for public transportation – and the administration’s encouragement for the latter’s increased usage – must be naturally complemented by a heightening in the quality and quantity of the corresponding services.
In recent years, there have been improvements all around catering to the needs of various individuals and incidents: the installation of safety barriers, infrastructure to assist the elderly and less mobile, reservation of priority seats complemented by a slew of courtesy campaigns and movements et cetera. The reported measures on the enforcement of bus lanes would increasingly convince the public on the enhanced efficiency of bus travel.
However, the respective agencies and service providers should never rest on its laurels. Trains and buses remain extremely crowded during peak hours despite purported increases in their frequencies and peripheral initiatives. It would be ideal to not only further augment the number of trains during the existing peak hours, but also to designate fringe peak hours – before and after the actual peak hours – so that waiting times can be significantly shortened since the human crowd would not spill over.
With more train stations and bus routes opening up in the upcoming years – while the transportation system would be rendered more extensive and comprehensive – it would correspondingly seem more complicated to commuters, particularly for the elderly. Furthermore, there seems to be the lack of appropriate harmonisation between the providers, leading to the absence of genuine integration between the MRT, LRT and bus services. It would certainly be ideal for a creation of an accessible online medium in which commuters can conveniently plan routes between destinations, travelling from one place to another by transferring seamlessly between services. To benefit the elderly and people who do not have easy access to the Internet, staff at bus interchanges and train stations should be trained further to dispense integrated information at the tip of their fingertips.
Such proposals might seem daunting and insurmountable; but the same was said when the decision was made to construct the cross-island train system. Our public transportation system must remain fluid and flexible as we advance as a nation.
A version of this article was published in My Paper.