Ages ago — oh all right, I exaggerate, it’s only a couple of years ago — I wrote that Mr Lui Tuck Yew, our august transport minister didn’t get it. You can read about it here. https://singaporegirl.wordpress.com/2012/04/16/mr-lui-really-really-doesnt-get-it/
Judging by the derision that’s greeted his recent pronouncements on bus fares and higher pay for bus drivers (service leaders, for heavens sake!), he still doesn’t get it.
Since he doesn’t feel the pain of sky-rocketting COEs and doesn’t as a rule have to take bus, taxi, MRT or walk to get from point A to point XYZ, why should he get it.
But since I do feel the extruciating hurt of COE prices — as a consequence of which I will have to have more than nodding acquaintance with BTMW sooner than later, let me add my one-cent worth to what can be done to help make it unnecessary to raise bus fares –yet.
Last week, I found myself at Newton MRT station, having taken the train first from Bishan and then Toa Payoh, the result of my deciding to get down midway be4 Newton to take a look at the heartlands, not because of a train breakdown 😆
I had sent my car for servicing at one of the Sin Min workshops and the workshop boss had as usual dropped me off at Bishan station in his land rover, not jeep, he insisted. One is American; the other British.
Frankly I don’t know the difference and don’t care, so long as I’m saved the hassle of finding my way back to civilisation.
After an hour or so at Junction 8 and then another hour so at Toa Payoh, I suddenly realised that i was going to hit the after work crush on the public transport system — if I didn’t hurry up.
I needn’t have worried.
The 4.30pm-ish train from Toa Payoh to Newton was pretty empty. I had my choice of seats and a few minutes later I was leaving the station.
My next worry was how to bridge the 3 bus stops to my home, since the after work hordes would surely weigh on the buses like an albatross!
I could of course cover the 3 bus stops by walking but it’s slightly more than 1km leh and there was a drizzle.
I could take a taxi but the Auntie Scrooge within me took over. I would probably have to pay $4 to cover the short distance. In any case, anyone trying to catch a taxi on this side of Scotts Road at close to 5pm won’t have much success!
I decided to take a bus, as I discovered from the time-tables displayed that I had a choice of 171 in 11 minutes and 900 and 900A in 9 minutes — not exactly a short wait but as my shopping comprised only 10 oranges and 5 persimmons, it’s not too heavy and certainly won’t perish in minutes.
However what truly irked me during the wait was the arrival in quick succession of Bus 124, all 3 of them, the 3rd one just be4 Bus 900 arrived for me.
Worse, each Bus 124 was virtually empty.
I don’t know which transport company — SBS or SMRT — Bus 124 belongs to but to schedule 3 buses within 10 minutes or so is surely a gross waste of $$$ and manpower and taking up unnecessary road space to boot. Worse, none of the buses could have made any money for their owners during that particular run.
Mayb be4 Mr Lui talks again about raising bus fares, he should think of telling the operators to first cut waste by refining their scheduling? 🙄