Angry Doctor

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Sometimes it's just about the bus

“I remember what it was like taking a bus 20 years ago. There was no air-con, the bus was rickety, and it wasn’t always there when you needed it. When it did arrive, you had to share the bus with lots of other people. The bus didn’t take you straight to where you wanted to; it took a winding route and stopped for other people too because the service didn’t serve you alone. At the end of the trip, however, you got where you wanted to go.

If you wanted to get anywhere fast, and in more comfort, you took a taxi. You could even tell the taxi-driver which route to take. Heck, you could even call for a cab to come to your door!

That was the way things were and you knew where you stood.

For the most part, the old non-air-coned buses were good enough for me. I was a student and had concession. The bus-driver wasn’t always friendly, but I was there for the bus.

But as I grew older and got more pocket-money I began to wish they would make the trip more comfortable.

One day we complained that it was always too hot in the buses. They said we would have to pay a little more but we thought it was a good idea. So they put air-con in some of the buses. The bus-drivers were still not always friendly, but then I was there for the bus. And the air-con.

Then they put air-con in ALL the buses, which was a little irritating because sometimes I just wanted to go two stops down and didn’t want to pay the extra for the air-con. But it was still cheaper than a taxi.

And then they decided to have a computer take your fare for you. It was supposed to be more cost-effective, but I had to pay more for the installation of the system. I wasn’t sure it was a good idea, because I was there just for the bus and I didn’t really care who took my fare. Plus the bus-drivers were still not friendly.

They liked the idea of computer taking our fare so much, they installed a contact-less system which cost even more, and the cost was again passed on to us. I was getting a little pissed, because I don’t remember asking for contact-less card. I was there just for the bus!

I looked for alternatives, but really taxis were still more expensive, and the only other bus company didn’t operate in my part of town.

That was when I decided to become a taxi-driver.”

Moral of the story: Remember - sometimes it’s just about the bus.

9 Comments:

  • took bus 96 from clementi interchange to to nus during my undergrad days. was raining heavily one day. plenty of people didn't have umbrellas. lo and behold, the queue for bus 96 was the only one with a bus conductor (or is it inpsector? he was in white) holding up an umbrella so that students didn't have to get wet while getting on the bus. sibeh embarrassing... big deal about being an undergrad meh?

    By Blogger The Poor Traveller, At November 17, 2005 1:03 am  

  • opps, sorry, lotsa typo errors... paiseh...

    By Blogger The Poor Traveller, At November 17, 2005 1:04 am  

  • Excellent post. :)

    By Blogger PinPin 彬彬, At November 18, 2005 10:29 am  

  • How true!

    After all these years, the only change in the bus company is the higher awareness of how to be more profitable.

    By Blogger Beng, At November 18, 2005 2:32 pm  

  • the bus 96 conductor with brolly. They still do it these days.

    By Blogger Look What Look?, At November 20, 2005 1:19 am  

  • Bus services have definitely changed.

    The buses of yesteryears had one entry and exit point: at the centre. When the bus was packed, you hang on to the handle, with one foot out of the door. I am surprised my tombstone isn't round a bend of a traffic junction.

    Bus drivers spoke very little but one could have a chat with the regular bus conductor (if you the route frequently).

    When it rains, the conductor and everyone help to close the windows. Inevitably, some windows cannot be closed and parts of the bus would be wet. Apart from the windows, there are a couple of hatches on the roof that needs to be closed too.

    Sure, the bus services today have their problems but there is really no comparison; it is without a doubt- BETTER.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At November 20, 2005 1:17 pm  

  • Hiyah "the poor traveller" the bus conductor probably, as with all people, tend to think that NUS people are all students what then students means young and stupid, need to protected what so he there to provide some shelter lor.

    It's a pretty usual response I get from people. Me chao undergrad also lah.
    Yar no real big deal actually being undergrad. Need to have ah boy face like me also to get more freebies.

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