Thursday, April 29, 2010

When size and distance do NOT matter for a Little Red Dot

This new transport fare system is giving commuters confusing 'joy-rides' and headaches. I have been following it closely for quite a while. No matter how you permute it, the commuters are just gonna 'get the shaft' (or get treated the wrong way). Whether you take the train or the bus, you are NOT going to get a better ride with less crowd and traffic congestions.

I was rather bemused by the way how the local newspapers 'hurray-ed' the transport fare reduction. Felt like some euphoric and orgasmic news: Public transport fares to go down by 2.5%! (Full report here). I don't want to go into analysing the statistics and details. But many doubt if it is really possible to have 2.5% reduction. Google a bit and you will find many websites and blogs challenging it.

My grouse then? Distance-based fare system. As mentioned in the same TodayOnline article:

That is when commuters will be able to take advantage of a new distance-based fare system where transfer penalties are removed, announced the Public Transport Council (PTC) yesterday.

This means fares will be calculated based on the distance travelled, regardless of whether a commuter decides to make a direct trip or multiple transfers between buses, or between buses and trains.

"Depending on the decision, you can save money or you can end up paying a bit more, but for the benefit of faster travelling time," said PTC chairman Gerard Ee.(bold mine)

Seriously, sir, how big is Singapore that is befitting of a distance-based fare system? Singapore's land area is ~700 km2 and the main island is about 42km in length and 23 km in breadth. The coastline is a mere 193km. I have travelled from Melbourne to Sydney 800+km one way and then back. That probably constitutes going around in circles 8 times around Singapore altogether.

My point? Perhaps Singapore is too small to have a distance-based fare system. I can understand countries like Australia and Japan. But hey, Singapore? And the fare calculations are really, really fishy. Whatever happened to the word 'public service'? I also doubt the 'benefit of a faster travelling time' promise.

Let me spell it to you in simple terms - the commuters only want to have a CHEAPER, BETTER and FASTER transportation (as coined by a certain 'deaf frog').

Don't talk so much smack. Can you do that?
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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Here's looking at you, Singapore

Well about time a government not only stands up, hears and understands the people's concerns but also have the guts to implement the unpopular decision. I'm sure a lot of investors are hopping mad. This is big news (at least for me) in Australia and I hope many young couples and families are rejoicing. Read all about it here.

I am all for investors coming in. Especially when there is a downturn and their investments help people to continue to have their jobs. But when the citizens and common people get slowly edged out, the policy has to be tinkered. Or thrown out of the window. The current house prices are really, really crazy right now. And the situation is aggravating. Sometimes I think I see a disgust on some faces during auctions. Of course the owners are the only ones beaming with joy.

I am glad the Australian government got this one right - their duty is to the Australians FIRST. I truly hope Singapore government does the same thing. But I have this familiar (pessimistic?) feeling that nothing is going to change drastically. What can you do when we have ministers telling us 'housing is still affordable'. About time someone 'wake up his idea' (meaning stop dreaming).
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