My recent article on toilets in MRT stations (Link: has drawn responses, a lot of which accused me of either being spoilt, entitled, or responses telling me off for not using the toilet earlier or making comments full of excrement. I wonder if such comments are called for and fall within the realm of civilised discourse.

I am taking this time to clarify the points I intended to raise and respond
to other points raised.

This article is NOT(for emphasis) to complain about the absence of toilets
within the “tap-in” areas. There are reasons for doing so and I mentioned it
in my article that these are understandable.

But rather this article is to highlight a problem about the FARE STRUCTURE
(for emphasis) and how it is designed to profiteer from at least on average
50% from toilet goers especially urgent cases and if such practices are

Yes we should preempt the occurence of this and use the toilet before
boarding the train but as most of us know when nature calls, nature calls no
matter how much we try to preempt it and as such my point if it is
appropriate for SMRT/SBS to seek to milk profit out of the need to answer
nature’s call.

The only reason why I don’t mention bus fare structures is because on buses
this is not really a problem. If one needs to answer nature’s call on the bus
one can simply board another service after doing so in a proper toilet to
head to their destination and so pay a “transfer” fare. Not so for MRTs.

With regards to the Novena to Orchard example note that the words “for
instance” is used – it is only a hypothetical example used because there is
one stop, Newton where one can tap-out and in within a grace period and also
the fares are similar to that on the journeys I use to travel. So if you can
read and understand what is written I think all the comments about myself
being unable to hold my bladder is uncalled for.

Also if you say I have weak bladders then a case of a long distance journey
should be considered as a better example. If say one is travelling from the
East to Woodlands or Tuas and one needs to answer nature’s call at say Ang Mo
Kio and tap back in to continue the journey. A trip from the East to
Woodlands would cost on average $1.80. But if one needs to make an urgent
toilet stop at AMK from the East one would need to pay and estimated fee of
$1.60. And when that person taps back in to continue the journey it would
mean a fresh fare is charged and the fare for the remainder portion of the
journey would cost an estimated cost of $1.40, totalling the trip cost to
almost $3, on average $1.20 more than that of a trip without a toilet stop.
In short, from the hypothetical example, which readers have shared happened
to them, SMRT would have made a profit of $1.20 out of that commuter alone
just for answering nature’s call and the question is is it appropriate to
profit from the need to answer nature’s call in such a way regardless of how
often it occurs. That is and has been my point. Yes MRT stations technically
don’t charge for using their toilets but they shift the charges elsewhere and
the cost of using an MRT toilet for a commuter often ends up significantly
more expensive than the standard $0.10-$0.20 charged for hawker centre
toilets. Some said that it is to clean the toilets but a minimum of $0.70
extra for commuters who urgently need a toilet for maintenance purposes is
unjustifiable given that one one looks at toilets at shopping malls, CCs and
libraries their toilets are much cleaner without charging users a cent.

Like some readers suggested, other cities have a 30 minute grace period after
tapping out before a fresh fare is applied and such should be considered.

So hopefully this clarifies, that it is not about lack of toilets in tap-in
areas but the fare structure that is designed to profit from the need to
answer nature’s call at the commuter’s expense.

Thank you.

N Chan
A.S.S. Contributor

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