Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Letter: Singapore's public transport lags behind Hong Kong's

Printed in a newspaper

THERE is no real competition in the public transport sector in Singapore, unlike in Hong Kong where the companies running bus, minibus and train services compete for the same pool of passengers.

Here are two of my concerns about the transport infrastructure here:

- Lack of efficiency and poor response to market demand. SBS Transit introduced premium services to cater to office workers in the Central Business District. The services were well received. In Ang Mo Kio, where I live, service 549 was introduced more than a year ago and soon became very popular. But service 549 continues to be serviced by a single-deck bus and the frequency remains unchanged.

Also, other than premier services, all other bus services still make too many stops. When will SBS Transit realise a point-to-point service is essential?

- Lack of comfort. While SBS Transit has renewed its fleet, it has reduced the level of comfort. For instance, I noted a new fleet of buses was added over the past year - but all were single-deck buses with fewer seats. Given that these buses replaced double-deckers, this means consumers now have less chance of a seat, even during off-peak hours.

It is no wonder that the car population continues to increase, despite rising petrol, Electronic Road Pricing and parking costs.

Liang Hien Fung


  1. It is possible to have a point to point service (or what I called an express service) if passengers are willing to take a feeder bus to the interchange for the express bus service.

    This will lead to a more efficient bus service, but it requires the willingness to use the feeder bus, express bus and feeder bus ... up to 3 legs to the journey.

  2. The current express service is like what....

    Go take the 50X or 51X service by SBST and you will know it.

    Alternatively, we can always use Fast Forward Service, but from NP to Toa Payoh can be disastourous long (Being more $ too) due to traffic jam.

    (PS: It cost about $1.50 or $1.90 which I cant remember but there was a time it goes through PIE and stuck all the way.What was get is skip stops, avoid usual roads but highway are even more stuck. Sweat....)

  3. The real solution is for more MRT and LRT stations to be built. Preferably all trains should be operated by a centralised and computerised system to reduce human resource expenses. Also, the platforms should all have barriers to deter suicides. Being a heavy user of electricity, SMRT should consider to produce electricity in-house using a variety of fuels (natural gas, coal or oil) if the main power companies do not offer competitive pricing to it. Alternatively, all trains and tracks should be installed with solar plates. In this way, it can reduce costs (human drivers, electricity) and deliver lower price to consumers.

  4. The problem with us Singaporeans. We want to results. We want them instantly. We want to travel from point to point within minimal time frame.

    The result, except in shopping centres and restaurants, homes and workplaces, we cannot be seen. Our presence cannot be felt.

    Then our special department will start counting numbers and conclude that we are underpopulated; and will embark on a grand mission to bring in new citizens to fill up the parks, libraries, pathways, places of interest.

    Walk around our own country. Immerse in our own multi culture.

    What is life if full of care.. when we cannot afford to walk and stare. Don't rush home immediately after work. Relax.

    (Don't ask me short of money, how to relax) -Have to find a balance in life. No matter how rich or poor.


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