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Senior Minister Janil Puthucheary claims commuters don’t mind a longer public transport journey so long as it’s comfortable

According to Senior Minister of State for Transport Janil Puthucheary on Sunday, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) found that commuters don’t mind a longer journey if it means a better ride.

This was based on the feedback gathered by the LTA from the people on their master plan for the future of land transport in Singapore 2040. The LTA canvassed for feedback on three main themes: how to make public transport the preferred way to travel, making public transport more inclusive, and how can land transport improve the quality of life of commuters.

According to the LTA, they were surprised that a majority of the more than 5,000 respondents so far cited they wouldn’t mind longer journeys so long as the journey was comfortable.

Mr Puthucheary was speaking at a REACH listening point in Punggol on Sunday when he said, "People brought up - can we have Wi-Fi, can we have a more comfortable commuting experience, so I can do something; I can listen to a podcast, I can clear my emails, I can chat with my friends,” adding that this was an unexpected find.

Apart from the online survey and pool booths, the LTA has also been conducting focus group discussions and apparently this sentiment of ‘a more comfortable journey’ regardless of duration was said to be clearly shared by many.

Another point that was brought up by respondents was that they wanted to see more graciousness among their fellow commuters, agreeing that the commuters themselves play a role in creating a better commuting experience. They also wanted to see more lifts at MRT stations and better training for public transport staff to help commuters with special needs.

Surprisingly, there seems to be a disconnect between what Mr Puthucheary says the respondents want versus what the online public said that they want.

On Facebook, many people are affronted at the Senior Minister’s claim that commuters wouldn’t mind a longer journey. In fact, many users repeatedly said that what they really want is a more efficient and fast public transport system.

As for his claim that many want wifi, netizens are unconvinced that this is really what the majority wants, especially considering that most people with internet-capable phones already have a mobile data plan. As one said, his home wifi is much faster and better, he just wants to get back home faster:

In fact, the one common thread in the responses on Facebook was the worry of fares increasing again, especially with the introduction of more services like free wifi.