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Issues about public transport need to be addressed, but are not

By Rajesh

Public transportation is the lifeblood of Singapore. Without it, productivity will ground to a halt.

SMRT trains are important, but there seems to be regular delays, breakdowns and this has already been highlighted and ignored. All they say is, live it.

But my question is, what if something serious really happens and the train breaks down for 2 months? Is there a viable secondary mode of transport that's able to sustain the volume of people? The answer is NO.

And there is none because of a number of factors, one being that our ministers are more concerned about profits rather than productivity and service to the public. Which brings my next point about the current two modes of transportation, taxis and buses.

Regarding taxis, we all know that drivers have to pay for renting their taxis. This means that responsibility for service does not fall into the hands of the company. Rather, they only care that the rental is paid. How the taxi driver conducts his service his entirely his prerogative. That is why you do not see enough taxis during off peak hours, and choosy drivers during peak periods in town.

If there were a second set of drivers who are paid full time salary with commission and made to service customers regardless of where they wanted to go, whether peak or off peak, it would solve part of this gap. But because the company's interest is in profits, this model is not suitable.

So the question is, are taxis public transport or private? Are they supposed to be public? Or are they just there for the sake of directors profiteering from the system?

Bus services in my opinion have actually deteriorated, with drivers driving them like race cars, and some not being able to communicate in English. In my opinion, it is very important to be able to pay our drivers enough for us to hire either locals or Malaysians for this particular job and get it done right.

Lastly, there needs to be a serious look at how to improve our current transportation model. I find it very strange that MPs are paid millions, and thousands of personnel are part of LTA, yet this issue is not addressed.