Friday, January 18, 2013

Sorry, there is no taxi available in your location

Staying in a dead-end loop makes fetching a taxi impossible in Singapore. Calling for one comes out dry most of the time when taxi is needed. Now, what is wrong here?

First, where are the alternatives? I wouldn't really mind if we have more alternatives. If there is sheltered walkway (with ramps and wheel-chair/pram accessible) all the way to place of destination (even if it's 2 to 5 km walk), I WOULDN'T MIND. Unfortunately, this is rare (almost none).

Talk about buses, I favour buses more than taxi. Buses ply almost all strategic places in Singapore, BUT travelling from home to stops is very inconvenient, unless these stops are just outside your block. I'm saying this because, there just isn't enough sheltered walkway (and wheelchair/pram friendly). Carrying an umbrella isn't a problem for most individuals, but try travelling in a pack with some members requiring wheels to move and you have a big problem.

Owning a car is a luxury in Singapore especially considering that a "permit" (aka COE) to own one is so exorbitant in cat-eats-dog auction system, whereby theoretically a person rich enough can own more than one car. So forget about it.

Due to COE and cost of owning a car, those services requiring transportation (or car) will reflect this cost. Hence, car rental in Singapore is expensive in terms of dollar per day, rendering this alternative as expensive and inaccessible to most households (assuming that most have driving license to begin with, because cost of getting one is high as well).

To cycle to a destination poses the same problem as walking. There isn't a strategic (as well as designated) stretch of path that is sheltered and wheel friendly. Cyclists share same walkway as pedestrian and this poses danger to the latter. From the look of things, it's encouraging to see that there is significant number of people travelling by bicycle where they park their wheels at MRTs to take public transport to work, thereby alleviating road jams.

This brings me to MRTs. I love MRTs, they are the most convenient and fast means of travelling (without factoring recent breakdowns). However, it still share the same problem as walking and cycling, i.e. NO SHELTERED PATH from home-to-MRT-to-destination and vice versa.

So, are there any other alternatives? I guess whatever the alternatives, they all boils down to the common need for the proper walkway/path that are sheltered, wheel friendly, safe, well lit, ubiquitous (or strategically linked) etc. which is really lacking.

Placing more vehicles on the road won't really help and increasing taxi on the road won't do either. The reason is, we don't really need taxi most of the time; however, when we do need them, they are never enough or it willl be too jam (e.g. infrastructure limitation). So just forget about increasing vehicles on the road and start focusing on making travelling by foot or wheels a much more accessible and convenient alternative (as this will encourage more people opting for public transport).

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