Singapore residents remain satisfied with public transportation in their country. According to a poll, 80% of residents admitted that they were satisfied with public transportation services. This is remarkably high compared to several other countries around the world. Buses, Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), and even taxis are usually packed, especially during peak hours. Unfortunately, these situations changed because of the existing threats brought by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Negative Impacts of Covid-19 on Public Transport
The coronavirus disease has affected the global economy. It has also brought huge and negative impacts on different industries, including public transportation services. In the past, commuters find it more affordable and convenient to take the bus or hail a taxi to get to work. Today, however, people are more inclined to take their private cars.
Unfortunately, with the existing threats brought by the coronavirus pandemic, people have grown scared of using public transportation. Reports even revealed that if Singaporeans have a choice, they would rather drive from one place to another using their own vehicles than risk their lives using public transportation service. This is natural because commuting can expose them to the disease.
Good thing, companies in the country have resorted to alternative options for workers. Now, employees can continue with their jobs in the comfort and safety of their homes. They no longer need to worry about taking the bus or the MRT to go to the office. However, some residents don’t have a choice but to go out and use public transport. People need to go to work, and most of them need to take the risk to buy groceries, medicine, and other necessities.
Improving Public Transportation to Protect Commuters
SMRT CEO Neo Kian Hong iterated the importance of public transportation to ordinary citizens of Singapore. He believes that purchasing a car can be an excellent alternative, but using public transport is still a practical and convenient option. Thus, public transportation service providers need to see that they implement necessary changes to help ease commuters’ fears of using public transport. Here are some recommended solutions to provide
- Postponing fare hikes—People are currently struggling to go on with their day to day lives because of Covid-19. Thus, having them pay for additional fares for public transport may seem untimely. Public transportation services should ensure that they can help passengers continue experiencing safe and stress-free commutes. Good thing, the Public Transport Council decided to postpone the increase in public transport fares. This may be a simple step, but it helps ease the minds of Singaporeans. At least, they no longer have to worry about additional expenses in using public transport.
- Implementing strict health protocols—Buses, MRT, taxis, and even car-sharing services need to implement strict health protocols. Commuters and drivers need to wear masks at all times. Social distancing is a must, and public transport operators need to sanitize and disinfect vehicles as often as needed. Public vehicles can also display signs that remind people about health and safety measures. They can use stickers to help people determine the right distance they need to keep while staying on the vehicle. Also, they can post signs about avoiding talking in public.
- Investing in technology for contact tracing—Embracing mobile applications and other technological tools can help public transportation providers trace Covid-19 patients. Using advanced tools will help authorities inform involved individuals immediately. This reduces the chance of spreading the virus to other people.
- Using an online booking system—Public transportation service providers can also opt for scheduling and online booking systems. This means they can provide people with an option to make reservations online. They need to post the schedule of trips and remaining seats available for new passengers. Doing this will not only provide convenient commuting solutions to passengers. This also helps reduce the number of people trying to get on public vehicles at the same time. With this, public vehicle operators have better and easier means of implementing strict protocols during trips.
Public transport service providers need to make certain adjustments to ensure that everyone remains healthy and safe amidst the coronavirus. Although public vehicle operators have an obligation to protect drivers and passengers, commuters also have the responsibility to do their part. They have to ensure that they practice proper hygiene, wear face masks, and observe social distancing at all times. Doing this will not only help maintain a safe and healthy environment for other residents. It will also help people overcome the challenges and threats caused by the disease.