Friday, June 30, 2017

Identifying the ghost buses

At the bus stop, my app shows the next two arriving buses for 163 at 15 min and 21 min. I have been experiencing this type of information on several occasions. I now expect that a "ghost bus" to appear before the next reported bus.

The ghost bus appeared 8 mins later. The next two buses now report arrivals at 7 and 13 mins.

This kind of incidents remind me that we have a useless transport minister. I shall not mention his name to avoid being personal, but I guess you know who I am referring to.

By extension, we also have a useless prime minister.

The duty of a prime minister extends beyond attending state dinners hosted by the US President and telling jokes about pork soup and cigarette smoking. Or giving prompt replies to statements from siblings.

 It means paying attention to the mundane matters that affect the daily lives of the people.

I do not expect the transport minister or the prime minister to be personally concerned about "ghost buses". But if someone has been raising the issue on countless occasions in past years, they should ask the CEO of the Land Transport Authority - is it true that we have "ghost buses" that are not tracked on the bus arrival app, and how many are there?

If the CEO does not know the answer, he can ask his subordinate and the message will go down a few levels. Quite likely, the answer is - "We have to check with the bus companies". And the answer will take such a long time to arrive that everyone would have forgotten about it.

If any smart person down the line will say, "Let us ask Mr. Tan. He seemed to know what the problem is".

And if they ask me, I would give them the answer within 1 hour. But that would require me to have access to the database.

There are 17,000 buses in Singapore. They have a GPS tracker installed to give the GPS locations to the server. This is how the bus arrival time is being tracked.

I would write a script to check, for each bus, if there is any tracking record being sent on the previous day. All the ghost buses would send 0 tracking record.

I would get the answer within 1 minute. It will show not only the number of "ghost buses" but the licence plate number of these buses, the bus service number and the company that is operating that bus (SBS, SMRT or whatever).

Yes. It will take 1 minute.

And to think that nobody bothers to check this for many years!

Do you agree that we have a useless transport minister and a useless prime minister?


Anonymous said...

Plus many more in management in the govt and the bus companies. Getting a bus info system to perfection is not a kpi for public transport and all those responsible for public transport. What about the transport council? What you raised repeatedly should be attended to pronto.This is a distressing situation for a multi million investment.

Anonymous said...

Well said! But its not right to use the word "useless".

Basically, after LKY's generation of Ministers / leaders, the current cohort under LHL are basically mere good managers (as opposed to leaders), who're running the country on "auto-pilot". They lack attention to details on the ground.

If Changi airport were not built under LKY, but were built under today's Ministers, I doubt if it would have ranked #1. I doubt if toilets will be sparkling clean at all times. I doubt is the ECP driveway to the airport will be purposely lined with trees. That's because the previous generation of leaders (not just LKY but Sim Kee Boon, Lim Kim San etc) are excellent leaders in their own right. Today's Ministers manage by reports obtained from subordinates. And give speeches, using generalities or buzz words that any MBA or GP student will utter.

Meanwhile, countries with strong leaders like China are catching up fast.

Too bad, Singapore's best days are behind her.

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