Following the Public Transport Council’s (PTC) decision to fine the public transportation service providers SBS Transit and SMRT Buses for service quality breaches, members of the public have been forthcoming in terms of providing suggestions – such as the many letters in the Voices segment in the past week – to improve the status quo. Besides the demands for greater efficiency and heightened capacity so as to keep pace with the growing population in Singapore, there should be the introduction of focused measures to assist priority passengers, and the creation of viable feedback channels for the public.
Designated Carriages For Priority Passengers?
The proposal for designated carriages on trains for priority passengers would be to ensure that these commuters – usually the elderly or the physically-disabled individuals – would be able to get a seat while travelling to their destinations. The current challenge is that whether they are able to get a seat is largely dependent on the goodwill, courtesy and willingness of the Singaporeans around them; more significantly, given the peak-hour traffic and over-crowding, it is often literally impossible for priority passengers to even get onto the carriages amongst the jostling crowds. Coupled with the high travelling speeds, priority passengers become extremely vulnerable to injuries or accidents.
Such designated carriages can be placed near the escalators available within the stations, so as to make it more convenient and accessible for the aforementioned passengers. For a greater degree of assistance and personalised attention, SMRT could station more staff members near these areas to lend a helping hand whenever necessary; already in the major interchanges, staff members have been seen rendering help proactively, diligently.
Creation Of Viable Feedback Channels
Against the background of perspectives and recommendations, it would be considerably beneficial for the service providers to review the current mechanisms to gather feedback, and determine whether more can be done to solicit first-hand opinions, or day-to-day commuter experiences. These could include: poor frequency of bus services, sub-par hygiene or cleanliness standards, negligent or irresponsible behaviour of representatives, the lack of transparency and communication capabilities et cetera.
Public transportation in Singapore is – and should continue to be – a consumer-oriented enterprise; correspondingly, platforms such as public forums and new media applications should be leveraged upon to better engage the target groups. The PTC should also expand its scope and responsibilities, to ensure that SBS and SMRT are more involved in soliciting honest feedbacks, and are sincere about involving members of the public to elevate their service standards to higher levels.