Thursday, May 22, 2008

Great Singapore Squeeze

Well, I HEARD that SMRT finally put a couple of hundred more trains on their rails this week. But yesterday, the East-West train that I took at 7.30am and 6pm was more packed than usual. I don't know why. And I don't know why SMRT decided that this isn't the real times to increase its trains. It decided instead to up train numbers from 12-2pm so that people had an easier ride to go for lunch! And it decided that 7.45pm onwards was where the evening crowd was. I suppose it pays to work late in Singapore - work-life balance notwithstanding, and I suppose lunch is too important a ritual to hold anyone back. Going by its warped logic, and frankly, waste of resource from 12-2pm, many of us who go home on time to join the family for dinner cannot get relief any time soon. And I thought that the 700 extra trains would relief the kind of crush we are experiencing at our more family-friendly hours. Sigh....It really depends on who runs the schedule at the train company, and right now, that person is a sadist. He/she must never have taken the train during the REAL hours - probably to save himself from the other GSS - Great Singapore Squeeze.

Well, what to do? They are the only provider of train services on that stretch of road. I can only complain on this blog (and perhaps write to the press), but I suspect that many others will do that also. Now, I just hope that SMRT won't raise fares on their 'improved' services - improvements that many of us are not experiencing at all. Does any of the members on the PTC take the train during these hours, I wonder? I hope they won't go by mere numbers when they are called upon to make the decision whether SMRT (or for that matter, SBSTransit) should up fares based on the increased number of trains on the tracks. They should hop on a train during MY rush hours to experience the kind of Singapore Squeeze that many of us are STILL experiencing now. Well, probably good for bonding and getting up close and personal, but I detect a certain reluctance on everyone's part to bond and be personal on a crowded train.

Sigh, sigh and sigh...


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