11/05/2006

the poor had it.

The poor had it. The bulk of the commuters of public transport comes mainly from the less well to do Singaporeans. These are the people whom the govt takes great care to make sure public transport is affordable. And if there is any increase in transport fare, it will be done cautiously, and in small amounts like 2c or 3c. One can expect that the transport operators will also be sensitive to the fares that the commuters are paying and not to over charge them. But we are still hearing commuters being made to pay extra because of system failure or errors. The poorer segment of the society, often less articulate, also did not have a voice. Are there really people who represent them and their interest? Take this uncle for example. He seldom takes public transport. Then hopped onto a bus and asked the bus captain how much it cost to his destination. $1.30 came the reply. Uncle scratched his pocket for his $1.30. He only had 80c, and no ez link pass. The captain patiently waited for his fare to be deposited into the box. Uncle asked, 'got change?' as he took out his smallest $2 note. Captain grinned. Sorry no change, exact fare please. Uncle was caught not knowing what to do. And the queue behind him grew impatient. He reluctantly let his $2 dropped into the box for his $1.30 ride. And no change. Why is it that the poorer commuters should always be made to pay more for the convenience of the big transport operators? How many uncles and aunties have been forced to pay that much more for their rides? But they are to be blamed for not having the exact change. It is the system. The bus captain is also unable to waive the short changed. A modern and world class system has no tolerance for the ignorant and difficult to train poor. This is another brutal truth of a world class transport system. To be fair to the transport operators, they have given enough publicity on the need to have exact fare. Or else the computerised system cannot cope with all the change. They have educated the commuters and the commuters jolly well know what is expected of them. The poor commuters shall not make a nuisance of themselves.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

When the poor ah pek could not make up the fares from 80c to $1.30, why wasn't there anyone in the queue behind hime offered to pay the difference? Afterall, it was a mere 50c. I would willingly pay the difference!!

abao said...

I won't pay for him as im not rich either, but i'll ask around for change.

Surely out of the many people there has to be one with enough coins.

Anonymous said...

Come on abao, giving 50c to another human being is such a small act of kindness. Even if you are not rich, you should be able to cough up a mere 50c.

When you go out for lunch next just say "mee siam, mia hum", ths saving 50c.

Charissa said...

Now that you mention it, I wonder why do our buses not give change? In London and Stockholm, the bus drivers/conductors could always give you change.... hmmmm.....

redbean said...

i share abao's view. many of the commuters are not rich and every cent is money to them. but to the bus company, a few cents may not be much occasionally.

what is unacceptable is that the system is done to the bus company's advantage. no need to count change, no need to keep change, no need to check if bus employee pilfers change, no need to go to the bank to deposit change. and earn extra when commuters did not have exact change.

i am quite familiar with the saying that any savings in operating cost will be passed to the users.