Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Marina South

Marina South is the new CBD. There is an excellent opportunity to plan a light rail system or a personal rapid transit system at this early stage. This is the transport of the city of the future. We should avoid building roads for cars in the new CBD.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Feeder Bus Services

The Land Transport Authority wishes to promote the "park-and-ride" scheme. It is better to promote feeder services. These services should meet the following criteria:

1. Be frequent
2. Short travelling time
3. Be affordable.

The light bus system used in Hong Kong is the best model. It should be managed by individual operators and not big companies.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Double length bus used by SMRT

The double length bus used by SMRT should be disallowed on Singapore roads. They take too much space at the bus stops (i.e. taking the space of two buses) and make it difficult for other buses to use the same stop. These lenghy buses also take a long time to make a turn.

As these buses have double the capacity, their frequency will be doubled (as they have to fill up the bus as much as possible). The waiting time will be longer.

Feeder services should use the standard bus or a light bus (with fewer passengers). It allows them to move more agilely and also to have a shorter waiting time.

The bus service operators need to be considerate about people, and not insist of maximising profits.

Too much advertising

There are too much advertising in Singapore. Property owners are more interested to get the maximum advertising revenue, at the expense of the convenience of the customers.

Recently, I was at the underpass around Republic plaza, looking for the escalator to reach the street level. I cam across a section with many tables and eating stalls. I had trouble looking for the escalated, which was obscured by the eating places. There was so much advertising of the food, which obscured the sign to the escalator.

The advertising in the MRT stations is also overwhelming. The commuters sees advertising all over the place. It is difficult to find the signs and directions to get to a place around the station. The guide to the commuters is inadequate.

There should be a better balance. It is all right to have advertisements, but they should not crowd out the information needed by the commuters. Our businesses should be more considerate to the public. The regulators should exercise better oversight.

Poor signages in Singapore

The signages in Singapore is inadequate. I had a lot of trouble using the underpass from NTUC Building to Republic Plaza. When I came to a junction, I did not know which direction to go, due to inadequate signage. I had to walk down a few ten meters to find that I took the wrong turn and had to turn back.

It seems that nobody test the signages to make sure that they are adequate and placed at the right places. Too many senior people use the cars, and do not bother about the convenience of people who take public transport.

There are inadequate maps. I find maps to be useful to show distrances, roads, buildings and the turns to take.

There is also lack of direction signs. When I am on an unfamiliar road, I do not know which the direction to take. In many well-organised cities, the street sign will indicate the direction that is north, south, east or west. It is helpful.

The signages in Singapore need to be improved. Is this the responsibility of the Land Transport Authority, Singapore Land Office or other agency?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

More hand-rails needed on MRT trains

The MRT trains are crowded most of the time. Many passengers have to stand near the doors, as the rest of the carriage is full. There are insufficient hand-rails in these areas. It is difficult to hold on to something to stop from falling down. Some passengers have to lean on the end of the carriage to get some balance.

This is a dreadful condition. I wonder why this deficiency has not been corrected for so many years. Perhaps the top people in the government and the land transport authority do not take trains, so they are not aware about this situation.

I hope that their staff monitor this feedback and pass it upwards.

Electronic signs at MRT trains

A few months ago, I suggested that MRT trains should provide electronic signs to show the current and next station for the train, and which side of the door will open at the next station. At that time, I got a reply that one part of the suggestion will be implemented.

I was surprised to observe the electronic signs on a MRT train today. They implemented both suggestions and in two different ways. At each door of a carriage, there is a sign to show the current and following stations, and the door that will next open. There is also a few electronic signs containing moving messages down each carriage.

During the intervening period, there was no attempt by either SMRT or Land Transport Authority to call and tell me about how they plan to implement the suggestion.

I hope that the people in power in Singapore will talk and engage the public, especially those who make suggetions for changes. This new culture needs to start from the top, from the people who make decisions.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Look at the total picture

I went to a machine to add value to my ez-Link card. It rejected by ATM card. I tried many times and gave up.

I went to the counter to add value to my ez-Link card. I told the station officer that the machine was not working. His reply was "The machine is owned by Transit-Link". It implies that this is not the concern of SMRT.

We need to encourage Singaporeans to think of the total picture, and not in terms of individual segments. It the machine is not working, the station officer could have taken the responsibility to pass the feedback to the relevant "owner".

Less crowded trains

I took the MRT train from Yio Chu Kang station at 9 am. To my surprise, the train was only half full.

I wonder if this is due to more train being put into service, or less passengers due to the economic recession?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Surprise - small MRT trains are now not packed

In recent weeks, I was surprised to find that the MRT train is not packed on some times of the day. I may not be able to get a seat, but at least I do not have to squeeze in a crowded train.

I suspect that the SMRT is now running more trains. Sometimes, if we are lucky, we can get a train that is not over-crowded. We might even be lucky to get a seat!

Poor signage in Singapore

I took the underpass from One Marina Boulevard (NTUC Building) to Republic Plaza. The signage in the underpass is quite bad. I had difficulty finding the right turn to take in a few places.

I took the wrong exit and found myself on the wrong side of Cecil Street. I had to return back to the underpass.

I find the signage in Singapore to be quite bad. There are inadequate signs. They are not prominent displayed. Often, I wish that there were maps to show the roads and buildings, but it seemed that maps are taboo in Singapore.

When I arrived at the basement of Republic Plaza, I had trouble in finding the escalator to get out. The area was filled with eating places. It seems that the commecially minded property owners are more keen to get the maximum rental from the available space, rather than help the people to find the escalators and stairs.

I expect our regulator to be more pro-people, rather than allow business to extract the last dollar of revenue. The convenience of the people should also be considered as being important.