TRANSPORT: Source of most angst since last elections

ANDREA ONG, Straits Times 19 April 2014

FRUSTRATED with rising car prices, train delays and fare increases, Singaporeans have dubbed transport the Government’s worst failure since the 2011 General Election.

The label was given by 45 per cent of 500 citizens polled in a Straits Times survey.

Around 28 per cent rate it as bad or very bad. Only a tad more – 31 per cent – say the system is good or very good.

They reserved most of their ire for the MRT, with over half of the regular train commuters saying services have declined since 2011. Only 21 per cent say services have improved.

For bus services, it is the reverse: Two in five regular commuters say services are better while 19 per cent say they have deteriorated.

The bus score could have got a boost from the Bus Service Enhancement Programme, which started in 2012. The $1.1 billion scheme will put about 550 state-funded buses on the road by the end of this year.

Commuters’ growing happiness with buses and unhappiness with trains can also be seen in the Land Transport Authority’s latest annual satisfaction survey.Conducted by UniSIM last year, its poll of 4,200 commuters shows the proportion satisfied with buses went up to 88.3 per cent, from 86.4 per cent in 2012.

On the other hand, the percentage satisfied with the MRT dropped from 92.1 to 88.9 per cent – its lowest since the first poll in 2006.

The overall satisfaction with the public transport system also slipped to 88.5 per cent, the lowest score since 2007.

Nursing student Neo Yiling, 26, who takes the bus and train daily, can relate to both survey findings. “The trains have become worse because of more frequent delays,” she said, but she finds both trains and buses have become more crowded since 2011.

Ms Neo has been in situations where the train doors remain open at a station for more than 10 minutes.

Indeed, train delays and breakdowns was one of the top transport-related government failures cited by respondents.

They also slammed the high car and certificate of entitlement (COE) prices, and fare increases.

A separate section in the survey asked car owners what would coax them to leave their cars at home and take public transport.

Their replies indicate push factors, such as higher COE prices and higher car prices, will have a greater effect than pull factors like public transport becoming more convenient and having fewer glitches.

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