In response to a series of photos which have been posted online showing the packed cabins in trains after the Land Transport Authority’s (LTA) announcement on 14 April that it was adjusting bus and train schedules, the Chairman of the Singapore People’s Party Jose Raymond has made an online plea asking that the authorities “help save lives” and not save costs.
In a Facebook post put up on Saturday, the SPP’s candidate for Potong Pasir SMC said, “The immediate aim for everyone should be to SAVE LIVES and not just SAVE COSTS.”
He added that “longer intervals lead to crowding, and the risk of new clusters being formed in the community.
“Despite putting up safe distancing stickers on seats and on the floor panels of the trains, these were not adhered to as people were having to endure longer wait times.”
In a news release on 14 April, the LTA stated that as there had been a significant drop in riderships, there would be adjustments to both train and bus schedules.
The LTA added that the operators would “ensure that there is sufficient space for commuters to maintain safe distancing from one another” and that the “adjustments will help to mitigate the significant financial impact caused by the reduced riderships, and help keep public transport operations financially sustainable.”
Mr Jose added in his post that “as our healthcare workers in the frontlines help to heal, we cannot afford to drop the ball in other areas which will end up creating new battlefronts for out frontliners.”
Coincidentally, the Chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Transport is Sitoh Yin Pin, the current Member of Parliament for Potong Pasir.
He has not commented on the move by the LTA at all.
However, in a Facebook post put up by Khaw Boon Wan at 1.56pm on 18 April, the Transport Minister asked the LTA to “err on the side of generosity.”
He added that the priority should be safe distancing and ensuring “essential workers can reach their work places safely and punctually.”