world class transport, according to who?
What is world class public transport system? My immediate response is to look at the best, the most efficient, the most comfortable and the most customer friendly, ignoring the cost for the moment. What comes into my mind is SIA first class or first class in the bullet trains. Plush upholstery, pretty hostesses, service with a smile, tender loving care, and a lot of room to move around, read the paper, a lot of fresh air to breathe, and getting to your destination on time. What is the Minister's definition of first class? More people using it. A preferred choice of transport. Quite brief but could encompass efficiency, fast, clean, comfortable etc but one thing to exclude, be prepared to be squeezed. The capacity must increase as most of the trains are not travelling in full capacity. Now what are the views of operators of public transport on being first class? Efficiency, fast and maximum capacity are the key words. Forget about comfort. They have just removed many seats to increase capacity. And they want the train to be 100% full at all time. Now what does this 100% mean? Cheek to cheek? Very likely. The current 80% peak time capacity is seen as under utilised. What commuters in Singapore can expect if public transport is indeed world class is a sardine packed, cheek to cheek kind of commuting, and not only during peak hours, but at all hours. What this means is that the commuters must be prepared to smell the unclean, unwashed body odour of the next person. Smell all the month long stale cigarette which a construction worker will not wash off from his uniform. And even the female commuters are not noted for washing their hair and you know what you will get. And there will be more meat in the train than air. And everyone is expected to share the little air in the packed to capacity cabin, exchanging bad breath. And they will have to stand practically all the way. And that is world class public transport system if the operators have their say. If that be so, I would recommend a standard attire for all commuters. Swimming trunks and a gas mask, and a body strap with a hook. And better to make it compulsory. The mask is necessary not only to shield against bad breath and body odour, but as a first line of defence against infection. And commuters better not try white shirt or designer togs. What is the body strap and hook for? To hang the body for the rest of the journey. Beats standing all the way.