Dear Minister Lui

I refer to my previous feedback for policymakers to walk the talk i.e. CEOs, directors and senior civil servants should commute by public buses and trains.

I read in The Straits Times (29 June) that Thailand’s Transport Minister Chadchart Sittipunt has encouraged his senior officials to take public buses at least once a week to personally experience the problems plaguing its public bus service.

This is a step in the right direction which our senior officials must emulate in order to really understand commuters’ issues.  The reason for our worsening public transportation woes is due to MOT/LTA senior officials deluding themselves that they could understand what’s happening on the ground from air-conditioned offices or chauffeur driven luxury vehicles.

As a leader, Minister Lui should be exemplary by taking public buses and trains regularly.

A compulsory weekly ride by all senior officials (not just from your ministry) will ensure there is sufficient and accurate feedback.  Without such feedback, no solution will be in sight.

It is also delusional to assume that current and proposed measures will alleviate overcrowding. Why?

The issue of overcrowding was highlighted some years back when the population figure was below 5 million.  Since the Bus Service Enhancement Programme (BSEP) was announced in February last year, our population has probably increased by about 140,000 to presently 5.42 million (estimated based on historical rate).

The additional (BSEP) buses of  less than 200 have not reduced overcrowding because it merely resolves some of the overcrowding issue resulting from a corresponding population  increase.  Many public transport commuters have expressed their frustrations and are fed up with our first world public transportation system.

As have been mentioned in previous feedback, chronic issues such as.bus bunching and severe traffic bottlenecks have yet to be resolved.  The 1001 construction sites (everywhere) and new MRT lines under construction have not only worsened such bottlenecks but have also made our roads dangerous.

(As also mentioned before, certain construction companies appear to be cutting costs by allowing their workers to use our public buses.  What is the point of spending hundreds of millions to purchase new buses only for commuters to share them with construction workers?  If anyone wants to claim that I am biased, he/she should walk the talk i.e. all senior government officials must offer to share their private vehicles with these workers on a regular basis. The worst timing would be during evening peak hours.  Yesterday, my 13 year old daughter returned from school on a bus that was half filled with construction workers who had just finished work! This is seriously bad or even no planning. And commuters are getting really fed up over this.)

Singaporeans are practically screaming into politicians’ and policymakers’ ears to empathize with our situation because this has been unacceptable for a number of years.

The government also cannot expect citizens to accept its ‘more of the same’ proposed solution.

The Thai transport minister has been exemplary.  To show sincerity instead of perpetually talking the talk, please take a leaf out of the Thai transport minister’s book.

Thank you and have a nice day.

 

Philip Ang

 

(This letter has been sent to Minister Lui Tuck Yew and reproduced with minor edits.)

[divide]

By Philip Ang

“Ask your friends to go online and indicate that you have read and share the views of some contributors to this website, TOC or TRE and others.

Not necessarily my views but there are others who might be raising concerns related to you, your relatives or friends.

The government is not going to do anything when you yourself have not indicated anything should be done.

Whenever I write to the government, you could also email a brief note and copy to everyone on the list. If you remain quiet, you cannot blame the government for not doing anything. Going to coffee shop to complain makes no difference because bad policies would have taken hold and affected our children and the next generation.

Government wants to treat symptoms instead of root causes. Basically we are just saying this cannot continue.”

 

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