Monday, April 27, 2009

The case for public transport

In a small rural town in a country, it is necessary to have a private car. The roads are usually empty and there is no public transport. Driving is convenient and a pleasure.

In a heavily populated city, the situation is different. The roads are congested and traffic is crawling most of the time. It takes a long time to travel on the road. To add to the hassle, it is difficult to find a parking space. Driving is no fun. It is a big hassle.

Many people are forced to use a private car due to inadequate public transport. This is now the situation in Singapore. The roads are congested and there is insufficient parking space most of the time.  We have a large increase of population in recent years, and have not expanded our roads and parking spaces to accommodate the large increase in private cars.

The solution is to improve our public transport rapidly. We should follow the model of Hong Kong where most people prefer to use public transport, for its convenience and low cost. I have not experienced it personally, but many people said that it is possible to get a feeder bus within 5 minutes and it takes the passenger direct to the destination.

 A top priority action is to improve the feeder services in each of our towns. Like Hong Kong, we can encourage the use of small buses owned by the individual operators. We have to keep the cost low, by reducing the road tax paid by the operators of these services. If this is available, many car owners will be happy to take a feeder service to the MRT train station or bus terminus.

 We have to introduce express bus services that connect the different towns. These services should have just a few major stops to reduce the travelling time. All passengers should be assured of a seat. These new services should be introduced in addition to the existing services. When they are popular, some of the existing services can be withdrawn in a rationalisation exercise.

 We can reduce energy consumption and improve efficiency significantly by getting more people to use public transport, instead of private cars. I use public transport regularly (and leave my car at home) and confirm that it is now my preferred mode of travel. I wish to encourage many car owners to give it a try.

 Tan Kin Lian




1 comment:

  1. I am suggesting to give the commuters some authority or power to justify or grade our public transport operator. Real-time feedback can be collected through survey put on the internet which commuter can access easily eg, wireless technology such as WiFi or 3.5G. Feedback such as over-crowding, safety issues, cleaniness, puntunality etc can be reported instantly. Videos clip pictures can be taken as proof and uploaded onto the website.
    Of course our public transport operator will not start or sponsor such survey or feedback portal. i am wondering could you do something about it?


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