Sunday, January 13, 2008

On Transport

Been reading the headlines over at SingaporeSurf and frankly speaking I wasn't too happy with the mass of unhappy news that had happened over the past week. Especially about the recent fare hikes in all many of the transports, whether public or private.

First, I establish the various kinds of transports and their purpose to the population.
1. Public Bus/ Train
This 2 forms of transports are essential for the general population to get to most places.

2. Taxis (Cabs)
This form of transport is a fast and comfortable method for people.

3. Private Bus
Paying a premium fee compared to the Public bus, the commuter gets to better enjoy their ride, since a seat is always available to them.

4. Motor Cars
Paying a hefty sum, along with COE and fuel prices, these are usually afforded by the richer segments of the population.

So, if the price of 1 rises, people will tend to take alternative transports, such as 2, 3 and 4. But if 1, 2 and 4 all rose? This would mean those that might be able to afford 2 or 4 in the past might not be able to do so now. Thus switching to 1. Since 1 is already servicing a large segment of our population, that would only mean the are going to get more cramped.

And oddly, the cost of a Motor Car is actually falling, although the fuel hike and ERP should be more than enough to add attrition to your daily costs. So more and more people would be tempted to get a 4. Motor Car, since 1 Public Bus/ Train are so packed at peak hours. Thus the expressways/ major roads would still be clogged up in smoke.

So, the Ministers would now say to implement ERP at certain busy sections. Now if there are 4 roads to say, a certain destination, and A was used heavily. So I slap ERP on A.

If the other avenues are as efficient to use, then Motor Car owners will switch to the 3 other avenues. Over time, as A becomes less frequent and the other more frequented, the traffic flow there will detoriate and presto, ERP would be placed at B,C,D as well. Then it became a mere revenue machine.

If A is still the most direct way, then most owners I believe would still drive straight, thus failing ERP's objective unless it is to earn revenue for the State.

Thus, ERP does not really solve traffic woes in situations like this. Improving 1. Public Transport would be the real solution in the long run.

And no quoting from statistics or other figures that Bus service from so and so company is on average only 6 minutes. Try taking a heavily utilised, single decker bus to work at 7-9am. Or going home from 7:30-8:30pm.

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