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With the standard of public services, many will still want to buy a car

by Meerasha

Since Jan 2018 I have been taking buses instead of MRT to commute between home and work. From Jan 2018 till Feb 2018 my journey from Jurong Town Hall Road took about 30 mins to 40 mins average. I walk about 10 mins to reach my worksite at Tyersall Road. Then something happened.

Since March 2018, my travel time is now ranges from 60 mins to 75 mins. Adding another 10 mins of walk total time taken is about 70 mins to 85 mins. Drivers are driving very slow. Most of the time, they crawl between 20 km/h to 30 km/h.

Worst among the three bus operators, are the Tower Transit bus drivers. They crawl from Botanical Garden and all the way to Clementi where I transfer to another bus.

My worst experience was with Bus service number 77. I boarded the bus from Botanical Garden at around 7am to 7.10 am. The roads were empty in the early morning, so I was expecting to reach Bukit Batok within 20 to 30 mins but I was in for a shock.

From the moment I boarded the bus, the driver was driving so slow that bicycles were overtaking him. At Toh Tuck Rd, he literally refused to move. He spent about 2 mins at each stop, waiting for passengers to arrive and hoping will board the bus but to no avail. He eventually arrived at Bukit Batok at about 8am and I reached home at about 8.45 am. My whole journey took 1 hour and 45 mins.

In another instance, I boarded service number 106 from Botanical garden towards Clementi at about 1815hrs.. After reaching the next bus stop, the driver started to crawl and travel at about 20km/h or less. The bus eventually reached Dover Station at about 1850 hrs. Normally it takes 15 to 20 mins. This driver took double the time. I checked with the driver. He informed that he has to travel at this speed to arrive at his destination on time. He cannot be early.

What is happening to the public transport system in Singapore? The government wants a car-lite society. But with this standard of bus service, many will still want to buy a car to save travel time. It seems LTA's requirement of arriving on time has been misinterpreted. The bus operators use generous arrival time between destination to show statistically they are arriving within tolerable limits. For journey of 30 mins, bus operators may have a 90mins travel time. Thus the drivers are driving at a crawl.

As usual, the government bodies are big on talk but little on detail. LTA is clueless about achieving high percentage of arrival on time or they don't want it to happen.