Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Coping with Public Transportation

The recent fare hike change to a distance-based charging formula for the public transportation system has upset quite a few people. Although I have not had the opportunity to check exactly how much my public transportation expenses have increased (I live a 5-minute walk away from my workplace), I am certain I am one of those negatively affected since I take mostly trunk services and avoid transfers like the plague.

This post isn't about me ranting about our ... flawed... public transportation system. I have commented on it previously here and in particular, "Why our public transportation system should be a cut above the rest.". I consider the latter to be one of the better posts I have written. 

This post is about me embracing my inner anti-establishment self, and exercising my engineer's creativity. 

In addition to being inherently anti-establishment, frankly, I'm disgusted with how a number of things are run in our country.

So I opt out. For instance, I've opted out of local media (don't watch TV and while I read the newspapers, I ignore the columnists and dispense with the entire paper in 15 minutes flat), and I tune out local events (like Formula 1 and YOG, *shudder*).

Unfortunately, as I don't drive, I can't opt out of public transportation. Much. And it's not like driving sets you completely free of "the system" either, what with satellite and GPS-based ERP on the horizon.

But there have to be some creative ways of opting out of public transportation at least partially right? Some way of coping with public transportation, so to speak?

Here are a few that I can think of:

1. Premium bus services. Heck, if you're going to pay more anyway, might as well get a premium product. More information on the LTA website

2. Park-n-ride. Only available to those who drive. Not very useful, I know. Still worth mentioning though. Again, see for details.

3. Free shuttle bus services, often associated with out-of-the-way shopping malls. The most complete list is probably here, though it has not been recently updated.

4. Cycle or run to work. You have to be the sporty type though; let's face it, our culture and our climate are not conducive to a casual city person's Velib type service. As for running, well, you have to be in reasonably good shape to actually commute by running. When I used to work on a semi-regular basis at MINDEF, I ran home from work about once a week, traversing the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve by using a variation of one of my regular routes. I would enter the forest via the Dairy Farm Road entrance and exit out via Jalan Kampung Chantek, then continue running on to home.  

5. Use a Segway. I've long fantasized about zipping past bumper-to-bumper road traffic during peak hours by segging (is that even a word?) along pedestrian pavements that run parallel to roads. Don't take this as literal advice though; I have no idea as to what the legality of using Segways on pedestrian pavements is in Singapore. Knowing our government, they would probably just as soon ban it as someone decides to do it.



hiteshladva said...
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Anonymous said...

Wont the Segway people clash with the cyclists? We need more open boulevards linking residential areas with town centrals and malls with shops/eateries/activities to promote walking

mjuse said...

I think I mentioned using the Segway on pedestrian pavements. Most cyclists who cycle to work do so on the main road itself. In any case, my Segway suggestion was half in jest and should not be taken seriously.

I don't think promoting walking is going to work. Our climate guarantees any walk longer than 5 minutes outside turns into a soup bath. And walking is simply not a viable replacement for the twice a day work commute on public transportation that most people have to do.