It’s not about how many trains or buses now because we’re a developed nation. It’s about a better ride experience and meeting the needs of a growing population. Why pay so much when public transport is crowded and dirty and sucks?
That’s what a friend told me when I said to her that the Government is actually trying to do quite a lot to improve Singapore’s public transport system. And indeed it is and should be commended for it.
But my friend is right too – it is no longer about how many buses are put on the roads, or how frequently the trains arrive, important as these are. Singaporeans are not lemmings which are transported from one spot to another in the shortest possible time to fulfill some statistical goals.
We have to cast our vision further.
When the Government declares publicly that it aims to achieve a world class public transport system, it is only natural and right that Singaporeans hold them to that higher standard. In this respect, is the impending fare hike, which the Public Transport Council should announce anytime now, justified – given the standard of service from the transport companies thus far? Is the service world class?
We have to question whether we have a world class transport system or whether it is the transport companies which are reaping world class profits without much improvement in service. This will be the main focus of our event at Speakers Corner (Hong Lim Park) this Saturday, September 13, at 5pm. (More details will be announced in the later part of the week.)
However, no matter which side of the fence we're on, one thing is for sure – we all want a better public transport system. One which is comfortable, affordable and which works.
Thus, The Online Citizen has designated the week of September 8 to 14 as TOC's Public Transport Week.
During the week, we hope to bring to the public’s attention issues which we and Singaporeans feel are important. These include:
- The annual increase in fares
- Service standards
- The role of the PTC
- The monopoly that the transport companies have
- The profits of the service providers
- Whether public transport should be nationalized
- Alternative improvements and ideas
TOC will also publish and send its own set of recommendations to the authorities, including the Minister for Transport. Copies of this will be made downloadable on this site and distributed to the public on Saturday as well.
Our belief in doing the above is that Singaporeans must have a say, outside of official Government feedback channels, in how policies are constructed and implemented. Often, decisions are made by the Government or, in the case of fare hikes, by the PTC unilaterally, it seems, and Singaporeans are expected to just accept these decisions.
So, please take some time to consider – seriously – the issues and help us try and make a difference. A difference which hopefully will benefit all Singaporeans.
Please send us your views, stories and suggestions to [email protected]. Your contribution may be published on TOC and/or be included in our submission to the authorities too.
It is time that Singaporeans, who bear the consequences of any ill-conceived policies, stood up and spoke up.
Thank you and we look forward to an excellent week of discussion and debate!
*If you wish to help us in any way with our event at Hong Lim Park, please email us !