Friday, August 24, 2007

Encourage more people to use public transport

The roads in Singapore are getting congested. The Government plans to extend the Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) to more roads, extend the chargeable hours and increase the rates. These are measures to reduce the congestions on the road.

The Minister for Transport said that building more roads does not help to solve the congestion problem. It encourages more people to use cars and will lead to more congestion at a later date.

I agree.

We need to encourage more people to use public transport. As a recently converted user of our public transport, I now prefer to use the train or bus, rather than to drive a car. I avoid paying ERP and parking charges and the hassle of driving on congested roads.

Previously, like many other car owners, I found the bus routes to be too complicated.

If we make some effort, we can learn how to take the bus from our home to the nearest MRT station. But, if we are travelling anywhere else by bus, it is quite difficult to find the right bus. This explains the heavy demand for taxis.

We need a revamp of our bus routes, to make it easier for many people to use them to move around.

I wish to suggest a longer term strategy and an interim measure for the shorter term.

For the longer term, we need a public transport system that has the following components.

• The MRT forms the backbone of the public transport
• Feeder services take commuters from pick up points within a town to the MRT station or bus interchange
• Express services bring commuters between the bus interchanges and provide an alternative to the MRT

The feeder services can use large or small buses and should preferably be operated by a number of small operators.

As the express bus does not require stop at pickup points, they can keep to a more reliable and frequent schedule.

This system may require a commuter to take up to three segments, if their start and end points are not within walking distance of the train station or bus interchange. This is not a problem, as the connection can be done at the same place. It is useful for the commuter to take a short walk or move around anyway.

As an interim measure, I suggest that the existing bus services be actively promoted as a feeder service. At each bus stop or MRT station, there should be a map showing the bus services that serve an area within (say) a radius of up to three kilometres. The services can be colour coded to make it easier for the commuters to pick the right bus to take to their ultimate destination.

It will also encourage commuters to travel to move around their neighbourhood.

If it is easy and convenient to take public transport, more car owners will choose this option. This has been my personal experience.

Tan Kin Lian


Anonymous said...

I prefer to take one straight bus to destination. i'd rather not take bus if i have to change mrt/bus.

But that could be because it is inconvenient now, not sure

Anonymous said...

yup, encouraging the public to take public transport would ease the problem of congestion.

But isn't the COE there to regulate the number of cars in singapore? isn't it implemented to solve the congestion problem?

If the COE is effective, there should be no need to sprout additional ERP gantries to solve the problem.

The problem arises when it is not.

Khiat Han Hwee Adrian said...

I agree that by having a better network of roads will encourage more people to use cars. But we should not be looking at this angle. This seemingly means that by making things inconvenient for car users will make them park their cars in the carpark.

I suggest that SBS relook into the route of buses that run to CBD during peak hours. These buses are stopping at too many bus-stops in the housing estates before heading to CBD.

Anonymous said...

Singaporeans are rich. Without a car they have no face. It is a status symbol.Nothing can stop them from owning one, not even the COEs. More gantries and heavier toll charges may if they dig deep into the pockets. I bet Singaporeans will still not be deterred.If they can't drive,no problem; there is one consolation left or you can call it their pastimes ,..washing their car on Sunday morning to see which has the best shine. A minister once predicted this and certainly it will come to pass soon.

Edwin said...

We should encourage park and ride system. This is to encourage the use of public transport, I propose that we not reduce road tax, but use the road tax to supplement a transport system just for the CBD area.

In Seattle, Bus rides are Free within the heart of the City during the weekend. We can park at the out skirts of the city and take buses going into the City.

The benefits are:
- Reduce Congestion in the City
- Reduce the frustration of waiting for a taxi in the City during 9 to 10pm.
- it will not burden the already cramped MRT networks
- Cheaper parking rates

A win win Situation

ww said...

the CoE is not meant to address congestion issues. it is meant to address ownership issues. tackling ownership does not necessarily tackle congestion which is concerned with 1. car use and 2. road use. those two require separate instruments to better regulate traffic.

Anonymous said...

Good on you, Mate! Using public transport is the wisest way to go out, as we don't need to consider to pay the parking tickets and can stay at that place as long as we want to. Sydney is getting the problem of traffic congestion, too. I am striving to encourage people to use public transport. Hope you can share some of your ideas and tips with me.

This is my campaign:

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