Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Travel Smart or LTA Smart?

When I saw on TV news of a new pilot initiative called “Travel Smart” announced by the Land Transport Authority (LTA), I thought of some good new measures by LTA which will enable commuters to travel on public transport in a smart manner by leveraging on technology or innovation. Hence, I was quite disappointed to learn that this “Travel Smart” pilot programme is actually a travel demand management programme which places the onus to utilize public transport –so that our MRT trains and buses will not be overcrowded- on the commuters themselves!

With buses and MRT trains already bursting at their seams with hundreds and hundreds of commuters on every trip, there should be efforts to increase the number of trains and buses at peak hours or ramp up existing public transport infrastructure and capabilities.  Instead of announcing measures in these directions, it seems, from LTA’s latest announcement of the “Travel Smart” programme that commuters have to reconcile the fact that what we are getting from our public transport system (MRT trains and buses) is already the “Best” that the public transport operators can deliver and as part of this “reconciliation”, we, commuters will need to be responsible not to overcrowd the MRT trains and buses provided by adjusting our travel habits! It seems that with “Travel Smart”, LTA and public transport operators will be absolved of all overcrowding that occurs in trains and buses since commuters will be the ones who are responsible for all the overcrowding with their travel habits.  In view of the above, I believe that this “Travel Smart” should be called “LTA Smart”. With “Travel Smart”, I have a feeling that LTA and the public transport operators will no longer look at improving the prevalent overcrowding of our trains and buses as commuters will have to manage this poor quality of public transport provided by managing the use of public transport utilization in our own lives

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