Thursday, December 14, 2006

Public transport

If you see a Singaporean who ever writes in to the Straits Times forums complaining about how hopelessly inadequate our public transport system is, please give him or her a slap. Singapore's public transport system is world class. From the taxis to the buses to the trains. And you have to be out of the country to appreciate what the government has done for us so far.

In Sydney, the transport system is hopelessly inadequate and dare I say dangerous. The buses never run on time and the rides are often instances where you fear that you may be going for a last ride. Unlike the SBS buses that ply the routes here in Singapore, Sydney buses pale in comparison.

Let me give you an example. I boarded a bus outside my university one day heading towards the city and I thought it would be nice of me to let the elderly folks take a seat. I didnt mind standing, after all I was new to Sydney and I expected the bus rides there to be as smooth as those in Singapore. Boy, was I wrong. The moment the bus took off from the stop and I say took off because it really did, I had to grab on to any grab poles that I could find just to steady myself. Meanwhile, the deranged bus driver decided that he should practice his F1 circuit skills on a bus that contains about 50 passengers. He floored the pedal before suddenly realizing that in a mere 100 metres, there is a red light beckoning. In a moment of sheer madness, the driver slammed the brakes in desperation and the inertia of the brakes threw everyone forward in unision. I swear that if I did not grab on to any of the grab poles, I would have been plastered on the windscreen infront.

As I was cursing every single hokkien vulgarity that I could possibly think of, I looked up expecting the whole load of passengers standing to be cursing along with me but to my sheer amazement, the passengers appeared nonchalant. Instead annoyed Australians started giving me that what the fuck look as if I was from Mars. Hello! the driver just impersonated as a F1 driver and used the bus as his dummy kit and Australians are behaving like this is a natural occurance.

This is where I start reminiscing about the friendly uniform wearing SBS drivers who always uphold the number 1 rule of safety. I have never sat in a bus here where the driver decided to wake up one day and replicate the F1 race that he just seen the previous day. Although, I have not sat in one doesn't mean that there aren't instances where there is one. But I can safely say that such occurances are few and far between. If there are any F1 drivers out there in SBS, I can guarantee a letter from an irate commuter to the ST forums and a reply from SBS saying that the driver has been 'disciplinarily dealt with'.

But in Sydney no one cares. And this is why Singaporeans are so sheltered and pampered. Maybe the prim and proper image that the government always promote has rubbed off on all of us. So much so that any single discrepancy will be magnified by a thousand and scrutinized and chastised in the press. Sometimes, we must learn to be more forgiving. Although in a society like ours, a slight error will lead to immense dissatisfaction, we must learn to accept the fact that complaining about every single thing will not solve anything.

Singapore's public transport is both affordable and safe. In this region, we can pride ourselves to be one of the best. Nevertheless, world class transportation is still prone to discrepancies but we must learn to accept like everything else in the world nothing is perfect. Our transport system here is as perfect as it gets.

1 comment:

icepickles said...

i completely agree... the ones in states is no better. i have been in chicago, san fran, new york, boston, any major cities in the states basically and i thought boston's public transport is the best in the bigger US cities, but it still sucks compared to SG's.