I WAS fortunate enough to travel with my wife to Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong in the past three months. The public transport systems in these cities seem far more impressive than Singapore's.
Subway trains in Paris arrive at intervals of between 90 and 105 seconds. Those in Tokyo and Hong Kong arrive at two- to 21/2-minute intervals. In Singapore, the peak period train interval is four minutes. Most of the time, it is six minutes.
The Paris and Tokyo train systems are much bigger and older than Singapore's, yet they have a higher frequency of arrivals.
Our taxi price structure is confusing. I live in Potong Pasir and work in Raffles Place. I occasionally travel to work by taxi, boarding at 5.45am to 6am, either calling for one or hailing one in the street. The fare for the same 15-minute journey ranges from $8.50 to $16.50.
The list of surcharges and midnight charges is mind-boggling. I do not even bother trying to take a taxi home from my office because the fare would include Electronic Road Pricing charges and other confusing surcharges.
In Hong Kong, you can get a taxi anywhere, and the fee is based on the meter regardless of the time. If you call for a cab, you get a 20 per cent discount. So you know approximately how much it would take to travel from point A to point B at any time.
The authorities should study how our public transport system compares against those in these three cities.
Just because we have been living with our current transport system does not mean it is acceptable. If I had not travelled to these cities, I would have thought our public transport system acceptable if not good.
Nicholas Joshua Law
This forum letter was first published in The Straits Times
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