SINGAPORE: Public transport commuters have become more gracious — if an emerging trend spotted by the Land Transport Authority is anything to go by.
Speaking at the National Kindness Award (Transport Gold) ceremony on Tuesday, Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew said more commuters have been queuing for trains without being told.
Mr Lui said: "I thought it was only at Bishan, but apparently they tell me it has spread slightly beyond Bishan. There’s no big sign, there’s nobody telling them, "you all line up two by two, like you are going to the classroom", but because some people set the example, others are urged to follow suit just because they see this is indeed the right thing to do."
He said the operators, LTA and the government did not play a part in it, but the LTA took advantage of it and made a video to spread the queuing culture.
Mr Lui said authorities can only do so much to encourage good habits.
He cited a complaint he received about commuters playing loud music onboard trains.
Commuters, he said, could try and be more considerate toward one another.
Mr Lui said: "Why can’t LTA do something about it, or why can’t our public operator do something about it? We will reply of course that we certainly don’t turn a deaf ear to this particular problem, but there is only so much that the authorities and the regulators can do but if we as commuters bear consideration for the comfort of those around us, both ways, then it will make the commuting experience a more pleasant one."
Transport staff, including bus drivers, customer service officers and taxi drivers too, play a part for their courteous acts.
At the ceremony, more than 400 transport service staff were recognised for going the extra mile to make a difference to the public transport journeys and experience of Singaporeans.
Mr Lui said over the last 10 years, the government has invested about $25 billion in land transport infrastructure and will double the investment over the next decade to increase capacity and service levels.
But Mr Lui said "hardware" improvements such as new rail lines and more trains and buses must be complemented with commuter—centric service or "heartware" of the system.
He said the experience of the commuter is also defined by the interactions with public transport personnel such as bus drivers, customer service officers and taxi drivers.
Mr Lui said commuters too play a critical part in shaping the public transport experience.
This year’s ceremony also saw three recipients awarded the highest honours — the kindness champions.
One of them is 58—year—old Mr Thomas Charles, a taxi driver from ComfortDelgro.
In March, he stopped his taxi and stepped out in the rain to help an elderly woman who had fallen off her wheelchair along the driveway of the hospital where he had just picked up a passenger.
Mr Charles said: "When you go the extra mile, as a taxi driver you feel very glad. It is not the income or the earnings you received, it is the pleasant smile that you received when they get out from your cab that’s important."
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