LTA recently announced their new Mandatory Give Way to Buses Scheme to commence from 20 Dec 2008. I’m thinking that nowadays buses are getting too much privileges. Very soon, they might just as well have a Mandatory Get Out Of My Way Scheme for buses. Public buses already enjoy their “normal bus lanes”, as well as the more recent not-so-normal “special bus lanes”. They also have the priority B-Signal at some traffic lights. Do they really need anymore privileges?
On roads that have bus lanes, often the buses are also occupying the non-bus lanes. Basically they are all over the road. It is an offense for cars to drive on bus lanes during bus lane operating hours. How about banning busses from traveling on non-bus lanes when there is a bus lane and it is during bus lane operating hours?
I drive, and I also take public bus. Personally, I find busses are doing okay getting through traffic. The problem with busses is not about getting stuck in traffic. It is about there not being enough busses being put out during peak hours. Yes, how frustrating all those times for me to see 3 busses in a row, when their frequency is at 20 minutes interval, simply refusing to stop at the bus stop at all because they are too full.
Let’s take a look at the road tax for a minute. The tax structure for busses works differently than for cars. But suffice to say, a big bus generally pays less than for even a mid-sized car. Pay less, but occupy more space (and more time!) on the road and enjoy more privileges?
Yes, LTA says their policy is geared toward encouraging the use of public transport. But I think they need some sanity-check in their policy making.
MPVs have been getting more popular with private car owners. Maybe in the future, private car owners will prefer to drive buses. Occupy more space, pay less tax.