Transportation

5 Things We’d Really Like to See On Our Local Buses

Joanne Poh 0 Comments

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People who rely on buses for their commutes are a dying breed thanks to the expanded MRT network. Those lucky folks who live within walking distance of MRT stations will never know the tranquility of getting a window seat at the beginning of your journey, or the agony of a driver who think he’s an F1 racer.

Recently, Tower Transit announced that they’d be releasing a signature scent on some of their bus services. Uh, thanks but no thanks—we’d actually prefer it if your buses could just come more frequently, thanks. But we wouldn’t say no to any of these four enhancements, either.

 

Pull-down seats

When you take public transport in Singapore, you get the feeling their main goal was just to squeeze as many people as possible into those sardine cans, with no regard for comfort. One classic example is the removal of seats from many MRT carriages. Sure, it enables more people to get onto the trains during peak hour. But it also means that fewer people get to sit down when the train isn’t all that crowded.

The number of seats on many buses has been reduced over the years in favour of more standing space, particularly at the front of the bus. Now, anybody will tell you that trying to balance on a wildly careening bus is quite a feat, especially when you’re tired and the bus is so crowded you’ve got nothing to hold on to.

One change we really hope to see someday soon is flip-and-fold seats on buses. When the bus is full, people simply give up the seats and fold them up to make space for others. Those who are inconsiderate enough not to do so will most definitely end up on Stomp.

 

Announcements and displays indicating next stop

Taking the bus can be a confusing experience. There is no indication of the stop the bus is at, and sometimes the bus drivers themselves can’t even answer when you ask them.

The worst thing is you often can’t see a damn thing when you look out of the window as they’re plastered with ads. Many people have resorted to using GPS on their phones so they can get off before the bus drives into the twilight zone.

An LED display indicating the name of the next stop would cure many Singaporeans of their phobia of taking bus routes they’re not familiar with.

 

Free wifi

There is already free wifi on two buses on route 176. We really hope this trial will work out, as many commuters would be happy to enjoy free wifi on all bus services.

Look around you when you travel to work in the morning. 90% of your fellow commuters are using the Internet on their phones or tablets, some watching videos. Free wifi would let these people do so without exhausting their own data plans.

It’d also enable those without data plans (eg. students, tourists) to check the LTA MyTransport app and plan the next leg of their trip, or use Google maps to ensure they’re not lost.

 

Level floors

Boarding one of those buses where the floor of the back is so much higher up than the front is a pain in the ass, especially when it’s full and the bus driver is on a power trip.

One reason nobody wants to move to the back of the bus is because getting there practically requires you to whip out your hiking boots, pickaxes and carabiners. If you’re carrying lots of heavy items or have a baby in tow, good luck getting up there. Whoever designed these buses obviously didn’t commute by this mode of transport very often.

 

Maps indicating bus routes

Buses are fairly easy to take if you already know the route. But you need a PhD to figure out how to get somewhere from a random bus stop you’re unfamiliar with.

While each bus service’s stops are listed at the bus stop (and also available via LTA’s MyTransport mobile app), good luck figuring out where exactly “Opposite Blk 19” is. Actual maps indicating the route would be a lot more useful.

What improvements can be made to existing bus services? Share your suggestions in the comments!

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.

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