Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

LTA’s Wayang Show

I’ve been somewhat critical of the LTA lately. But I think it’s fair to say that most public transport commuters are quite fed up, and we all rather see some concrete improvements being put into place, rather than hear about LTA collecting data that’s already quite obvious to everyone. Just go take the train or bus at the right place and at the right times. No need to throw tenders for surveys.

Suppose LTA has been totally clueless all along, surely they could have obtained some anecdotal feedback from their own workforce? Surely the LTA must have a large enough workforce to be taking a good number of bus services and train services. (And if not, that means they all drive cars, then why is it that our driving situation isn’t all that good either?)

Sometimes, I’m sure, we all wonder what LTA has been doing all these years. Overcrowding situations on buses are probably the easiest to know. Practically everyone has been using EZ-Link cards on buses. So it is easy to know how many passengers there are on the buses at any one time. There, simple, you know which buses are running at full capacity.

Tracking EZ-Link cards may not be foolproof since, well, there are cheats who don’t tap their cards, and there are probably those with concession/monthly cards who don’t bother to tap out. Well, the backup plan is to simply ask the bus drivers for feedback. You could even ask the bus drivers to report instances when their buses were so crowded that they could not take onboard everyone who wanted to board the bus. There’s already a data terminal in every bus. It can be a simple application for the driver to provide the input.

In this day and age of computerised-everything, everything-networked, this should already have been done eons ago.

Today’s article in the Sunday Times does say that their new tender for data collection survey contract will complement in-house analysis of ticketing data. I wonder are they just only now going to analyse ticketing data? Or have they been doing so all the time, and then if so, how did we come to this sorry overcrowding situation?

On a slightly different topic: LTA recently announced the taking out of taxis from the COE quota. I wonder if that’s a knee jerk reaction to the outcry over nonsensical COE prices. COE prices for Category A will drop. Now, there could potentially be a new problem: People who already paid a high price for their Category A COE are going to be completed pissed. The high volatility of COE prices is turning car ownership into a sort of a gamble.

I am still waiting for integrated bus arrival information for both our main bus companies, SBS Transit and SMRT Buses. Why is this so difficult? Computerised-everything, everything-networked, but no one wants to network with LTA?

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