For the longest time, I have been griping about the bus service by SMRT (formerly known as TIBS, which merged with SMRT in 2001). Especially now that I am temporarily staying at my parents’ place in Bukit Panjang during my leave, and have to rely solely on SMRT buses for public transport. Either that or take the LRT-MRT combi, which is forever crowded.
Its not like the service from SBS is anywhere near perfect. But at least the intervals between buses are quite regular and predictable. And with iris, I am able to time my trips out of the office or home without spending too much time at the bus stops waiting for the bus to arrive.
Though we are paying the same fares for SMRT buses, there is no such online service. I believe the infrastructure to determine the bus positions is in place as PublicTransport@SG Mobile is able to tell the arrival time of SMRT buses at various pre-defined bus stops. Perhaps it is to cover their inadequacy to provide sufficient buses on a regular intervals. The wait for buses can be as long as 30 minutes to an hour even during off-peak hours when there are no jams.
And to make matters worse, some of their buses are so old that the aircon cannot be felt during hot, sunny days. This make taking the buses feel like being in a sauna on wheels in the afternoons. I shudder to think what would happen if someone with an infectious disease unknowingly boards the bus and starts coughing and sneezing during the journey.
I was ‘lucky’ enough to board one such bus today when I was making my way to Bukit Batok. The bus was so old that the seats were still the old fabric type and buzzers were use to notify the driver of the intention to alight. Based on the record on Wikipedia, the bus should be about 18-19 years old. I thought the COE was supposed to prevent such vehicles from being on the road. Mind you this is a public transport vehicle that travels long distance day in and day out.
And to top it off, the recent review by the PTC about a month ago was that the bus service by SMRT was considered satisfactory. This is probably a prelude to upcoming fare hikes due to so-called increases in crude oil prices and running costs. I seriously think that the people doing these reviews should get off their cushy office chairs and experience the bus service first-hand. Even when God created the world in 7 days according to the bible, he was on hand to see that things were good before proceeding.