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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Why this commuter gave up on buses and MRT

Jan 18, 2008
Why this commuter gives up on buses and MRT
By Tania Tan

Jeanne Conceicao stated 'too many decision points' as her reason for giving up on public transport. Her example was cited by Transport Minister Raymond Lim for the need to improve the local bus system. -- ST PHOTO: ASHLEIGH SIM

WHAT would it take to convince a commuter such as Ms Jeanne Conceicao, who is learning how to drive, to give up the idea of buying a car and rely on public transport?
That is the challenge facing transport planners, said Transport Minister Raymond Lim on Friday.

He highlighted how, fed-up with the uncertainty and inconvenience she experienced in daily commute, that she gave up on buses and train and opted to travel by taxi to work, and would be buying a car.

Relating her travel woes, the minister said at the launch of the land transport gallery on Friday: 'Taking the bus or MRT was just too wearying.'

'Too many decision points, she said. She had to take a feeder bus to the MRT station, hop on the North-South line, then transfer onto the East-West Line, and then hop onto another feeder bus that took her to Heng Mui Keng Terrace where she worked.'

'The uncertainty of the journey time - how long it would take for the feeder bus to arrive; whether taking the MRT to Raffles Place or Jurong East interchange to transfer would be faster - it took too much out of her.In the end, she decided to take a taxi, and would be buying a car.'


Making the bus, train my 'other car'

Why open up bus industry?

'This really drives home the point that we need to improve the connectivity of our hub-and-spoke system, in particular the integration between the feeders, trunk buses and the MRT.

Only then can we ensure seamless transfers and make the whole public transport journey as convenient as possible.'

Ms Conceicao, 42, who was a member of a focus group discussions on public transport, and now works as a real estate agent, told The Straits Times on Friday: 'I was just sick of all the travelling time.'

Her daily commute from home to the Institute of Policy Studies where she was a research fellow, took one hour and 40 minutes - which started with a half-hour journey from her home in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3 to the MRT station.

She then hopped on to the MRT train at Buona Vista station and then caught a bus to her office.

The biggest hassle was boarding a feeder bus, as it was often packed. 'I'm not even asking for seat, just to get on the bus,' she rued. She soon abandoned buses and trains, in favour of taxis to and from work - which cost her over $600 monthly.

'I might be complaining too much, but I just wanted to arrive at work in a good mood,' she said.

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