Monday, June 27, 2011

Dialogue with MP Lim Biow Chuan on Transport Issues

On this humid Sunday afternoon, I attended a dialogue session on transport issues chaired by my Member of Parliament (MP) for Mountbatten Lim Biow Chuan.

One grateful resident Mdm Ling came personally to thank MP Lim for acting on the complaints and concerns raised by residents during the General Election about irregular bus frequencies.  

Mdm Ling who is a resident of Tanjong Rhu, has only bus number 158 serving her estate. She takes it to the main road to transfer to bus service 30 to go to her office. The irregular bus frequencies often caused her to be late for work as she could reach her office one and a half hours later when the journey usually takes 45 minutes. She spends the last 5 years monitoring the bus services and regularly feedback to LTA and the bus company but to no avail.

8 months ago, a frustrated Mdm Ling went to see MP Lim at his Meet-the-People session when the irregular bus frequencies didn't improve at all.  

In May this year, accompanied by an officer from Land Transport Authority (LTA), MP Lim conducted his own spot checks to verify complaints of irregular bus services in Mountbatten at two separate bus stops during the morning peak hour, between 8am and 9am.

He was "horrified" that three bus services - 158, 12 and 197 - took half an hour to arrive. He wrote to the Public Transport Council.

Due to MP Lim's efforts, residents have been promised one more service for 158 during peak hours. According to Mdm Ling, the waiting time of 23 minutes has been reduced to 17 minutes. The bus company stated on its website that the average waiting time for its buses is between 10 to 15 minutes. There is still room for improvement. Mr Lim said he would follow up with SBS Transit and monitor the services for improvements.

About 40 residents took time to attend the event at Katong Community Centre and shared their ideas which have all been noted and will be considered. It was heartening to see quite a number of younger residents attending the dialogue session and offering suggestions.

One resident's question got me thinking, because the bus company used GPS to track all their buses, it has all the statistics of its commuters and the trips they make, why didn't they use that data to improve on their bus services?  

By coming forward with feedback, residents in Mountbatten can make it a better place for all.


  1. I can't believe that Singapore is facing this problem too. Irregular bus frequency?

  2. This is a good example of active citizenry whereby affected residents walk the talk by taking ownership of their problems.

    Wondering what will happen if the MP is not Lim Biow Chuan but Jeanette Chong? Probably nothing will happen for next 5 years until election time?

    Statutory Boards like LTA and PTC will always be pushing their buck to main transport company SBS transit to resolve. We should realistically not expect the other operator, SMRT Bus to step forward to compete as both are in business with the sole aim to maximize profit. Without alternatives and competition, consumers will always be shortchanged.

    Our publicly listed bus and transport operators are largely owned by Temasek Holdings which is a government investment vehicle controlled by the PAP government. IMHO, our public listed transport companies should be delisted and run as private government-own corporations where profit maximization is not the sole objective; and instead other key performance indicators (KPI) be incorporated like breakdown rate, safety and accident nos, service levels measured by average arrival times etc. Without fundamentally reforming our transport system and ownership structure, this meeting with Lim Biow Chuan or even other MPs all over Singapore will unlikely be the final one.

    The moral of the story is that without political or business competition/altyernatives, residents and consumers will always be worse off.

  3. Tekkaus,
    Nobody believes our Orchard Road will be flooded!

    Whatever frustrations other nationalities are facing with their public services in their respective countries, can happen in Singapore too.

  4. Sit down drink coffee and chit chat..... talk is cheap.

    Imagine an MP waking up early to monitor bus services. There were scores of grassroots leaders whom he could delegate the job but he roll up his sleeves and did it without informing any of them.

    Not one grassroots leaders know until they read his FB comment.

    Not informing anyone of what he's going to check on, puts the civil servants on their toes.

    Watch out civil servants, there's a shark in your swimming pool! lol

    More Mountbatten residents are stepping up to offer feedback and take action on the improvement of their neighbourhood.

    Especially Amber Neighbourhood Community, it is one united community as the MCSTs work together when it comes to improving their environment and quality of lives for residents.

    We should take charge of our lives and do what we can and not wait for someone to do it. The wait can be more than 5 years and nothing moves.

  5. We never had a bus service to run us around. The closes bus service a city one would be Spokane which is about 2 hour drive and I heard there cutting back.

    Coffee is on.

  6. ECL, you are a good example of a good citizen! Have a lot to learn and look upon you. Keep it up!

  7. It seems that bus services the world over aren't what they used to be. When I was a little girl, although we lived in a hamlet (village) the bus would pass through every twenty minutes and the driver would stop whenever you put your hand out ... not just by the bus stop. They would also drop you off at the top of the hill to save you the walk. It is a shame that people are no longer held with the same regard when using public transport.

    Our bus services are being cut back and cut back .... it is quite frightening.

  8. wow, irregular timing for bus to arrive? what if people are depending on these transport for work? salary deduction due to late bus arrival? oh gosh..