Dear TOC editor
I saw your facebook’s call for people to share with TOC our experience of using Singapore public transport, hence I would like to share my train ride experience this morning with your readers and hopefully, the Transport Ministry. This morning (22 July 2011) I had an extremely unpleasant MRT ride at 8.00-8.15am on the train heading towards Joo Koon from Aljunied. When the train reached Lavender, it was announced that the train would be delayed for 30 minutes! This happened during rush hour when everyone wanted to get to their workplaces as soon as possible. Subsequent to that, passengers on the train had an awful experience of waiting for the train to reach the next station. The ride was jerky as the train would stop abruptly from station to station, causing many passengers to fall down. It was definitely an awful and unpleasant train ride experience for me. This kind of public transport service standard is definitely unacceptable and not tolerable in a “first-world country” like Singapore.
Dear Online Citizen
I enjoyed reading your post on the transport woes faced by everyday Singaporeans like myself. Somehow, having an avenue to voice our unhappiness and knowing that so many others are suffering as well helps lessen a little of my frustrations. So I thought I would share my experience. Unfortunately, I do not have any photos to accompany this account, as I did not think to take pictures during that time. Anyway, here goes:
The East-West line train (heading towards Joo Koon) experienced a disruption in train service this morning (Friday, 22 July) due to a train fault. While train faults are no longer rare occurences (say once in 50 years? Sorry, couldn’t resist the jibe. Heh) and commuters no longer bat an eye, but just sigh in resignation and dutifully inform their employers/friends/etc. that they will be late, it is perhaps the way the situation was dealt with that irked me.
The train I was on was travelling towards the City Hall station, when it stopped so suddenly that those who were not near the poles and could not grab onto it, struggled to keep their balance. A few fell. There was no apology for the sudden stop. The train remained immobile for a good 25 minutes or so. There was no explanation nor communication about what was going on. Twenty-five minutes passed when SMRT finally deigned to make an announcement, telling us it was a train fault and that there will be a delay. The train finally started moving, but stopped every few metres. Finally, we were told to get off at Raffles Place.
We got on the next train that came into Raffles Place. That train too stopped a couple of times during the journey (they said it was due to a train fault at the station in front. Shouldn’t it be a station fault then? I think they meant the train in front, not the station). Anyway, after several frustrating start and stops, the train finally resumed normal speed.
Sadly, my account is probably nothing out of the ordinary. And because of that, I do not think that an increase in fare is justifiable. If SMRT and SBS are doing a good job, I am sure most people do not mind paying more, but the congestion in trains, the long wait between the next train/bus, the inconsistency in arrival times, the frequent breakdowns really makes the idea of paying more (for this standard of service) incomprehensible to me.
Also, SMRT should be more efficient in their communication with commuters, instead of leaving us wondering. A little more sensitivity will definitely help reduce commuters’ frustrations. For instance, an apology for the sudden stop during the journey today would have helped cool some tempers, but SMRT appeared very cavalier and unconcerned about the safety of their passengers.
I have been forced to cab at this time a number of times in the past few months. My work hours are flexible but not excessively. I left my place at Segar at 8.20 today and waited for a bus, either 966 or 700, which is along my route for nearly an hour without luck. I couldn’t board those that I arrived even if I tried.
I currently work in Ubi and from B Panjang there is no direct way to reach. As mrt is slow via Woodlands bus is still the only option. I take the 154 (20min journey) from either whitley (700) or Trellis Towers (966) to MacPherson and walk into office from there.
I have written to LTA and SMRT buses previously. They told me bendy buses are not suitable for 700 due to space at Shenton Way depot. I suggested they tweak the route to allow for longer buses. No reply since Jan 2011.
I also requested when a proper timing system will be implemented so Smartphone users can at least know when the next bus is arriving at stops without electronic sign boards. No reply on that either.
I have never seen bendy buses on 966 route.
The 190 is a route that has gained much attention and has definitely been improved but you can see these two routes have improved little if at all.
For me, the 190 is further away, uncovered walk, and not near the LRT route.
The cost of my trip this morning: $13.40 taxi + fare on LRT to Pending. I still walked in to office from MacPherson as traffic into Ubi is awful to say the least.
I have just reached, the time is: 9.59am
This post was last edited on 26 July 2011 at 12.20pm after it was first published.