Multispeak: Why SMRT has yet to push people into trains

In a Today article, Saw Phaik Hua, the CEO of SMRT is quoted as saying about SMRT trains: “I never said that I didn’t recognise it’s crowded … I accept it’s crowded. The point is, in comparison with others, we’ve yet to push people into the train.”

In a CNA article, she is quoted as saying: “It is crowded, but I push my way in.”

Putting two and two together, we get five. People are not pushed into SMRT trains. But the CEO pushes herself into trains. So perhaps people are not pushed into trains because they are, like Saw, pushing themselves into trains already.

Remembering that the honest CEO has also said that “[p]eople can board the train – it’s a matter of whether they choose to,” we should now know that people are really choosing not to push their way into trains. Perhaps people in Singapore are just too fussy about the trains they take, often choosing to take the next, next, next overcrowded train instead of the first overcrowded train that comes their way. As she puts it, “[i]t’s not because … they choose not to board. It’s because they also know there’s a next train that’s coming, which is much less crowded.” (Having some exposure to the Saw style of speaking, we know that “much less crowded” does not mean not crowded or even not overcrowded.)

Or perhaps the Phua Chu Kang ads promoting graciousness that were once everywhere in trains and train stations have been working really well. After all, pushing one’s way into trains is not exactly exemplary behavior when it comes to graciousness. If I get elbowed in the train by Ms Saw one day, I would tell her to lick Phua Chua Kang’s boots. Really, instead of pushing her way in, she should choose . . . no, not choose, but wait for the next train which is much less crowded—wait, and see if it ever comes.

Admittedly, Saw actually has everyone’s welfare at heart. As she explains, “[i]t is crowded, but when they are already running at 2-3 minutes (intervals), it’s the most that I can do. I cannot go faster than that without compromising safety and reliability.” (CNA) Of course, anyone who has ever taken trains during official off-peak hours knows that there peak-hour crowding exists even during off-peak hours when we wait much more than 3 minutes (I have learned how to use the word “much” subjectively too) for a train. I am eagerly anticipating a good reason from Saw for not increasing the frequency during off-peak hours when the crowding conditions are no different. It probably is not because she is choosing not to increase frequencies. Perhaps it’s because she knows people do not have much of an alternative but to push their way in or wait for the mythical much less crowded train.

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8 Responses

  1. […] ERPains, Trains & Automobiles – Molitics: Multispeak: Why SMRT has yet to push people into trains […]

  2. […] ERPains, Trains & Automobiles – Diary of A Singaporean Mind: Importance of the Public Transport System – Tan Kin Lian’s Blog: Space in MRT trains – TOC: The Great Crush Load Challenge – Feed Me To The Fish: Board & Squeeze for Progress – TOC: Bukit Timah bridge incident – commuters left stranded – ST Forum: Satellite-based ERP not the answer – Yawning Bread on WordPress: Forward urban planning not as good as vaunted? [Recommended] – WonderPeace: Is Our Crowded Trains Safe? – My sketchbook: Singapore’s satellite based ERP system – TOC: Why Saw Phaik Hwa has missed the point – Want some tau huay?: SMRT CEO: I ‘push my way in to trains’ too – Yaw Shin Leong @ WP: So That We Pay Even More? – flaneurose: Coping with Public Transportation – Molitics: Multispeak: Why SMRT has yet to push people into trains […]

  3. I just read The SMRT CEO saying that, “It is crowded, but I push my way in. It is crowded, but when they are already running at 2-3 minutes (intervals), it’s the most that I can do. I cannot go faster than that without compromising safety and reliability”
    but i ask her … what she has to say about the 6 mins interval in N-S line after 8.30 am.. ???. People go to work at that time. 6 Mins is too much. If you dont believe me, go n stand at sembawang/yishun at about 8.40 am… u will know wat smrt is!!! such a lousy org i hav never seen in my life.

    the train moves so slowly sometimes coz of co-ordination probs.. n it gives me pains due to unexpected jerks. Then wat are we payin for ?

  4. We always pride ourselves as a progressive country and for what we pay and what our leaders are paid, we do expect continuous improvements, not deterioration. It is sad to see that our leaders at the top often use the same excuse that we are better off when compared to the worst. I see this happening everywhere these days, e.g. MRT, Traffic, YOG, Flood, Taxi, Bus, Toxic Financial Products, etc. With such an attitude at the top, no amount of engineering can help the country. If we keep going this way, very soon we would be next to the worst, or worse than the worst!

    • Yeah, Singapore is good because it’s better than hell. And for that, it’s worse than hell.

      • As you know MP Ong Ah Heng declared in the parliament not too long ago that he did Singapore a favor by sending a poor old folk to hell in exchange for a younger one from hell. He was SO PROUD of what he did that he couldn’t wait to share the story with the whole world. Our “leaders” were PROUD of him and thanked him on behalf of all Singaporeans. Singapore might be better than hell for the time being but more and more Singaporeans are being sent to hell.

        Sigh…

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