MRT Stations For the better or For the Worse

We need to improve constantly, cos if we only maintain stillness at where we are, it’s doomed that we will lag behind becos everyone else is going forward (there’s a famous phrase to that effect, but Dear2 cannot remember what the exact words are, haha).

SMRT has recently made a few improvements to their stations.  Kudos to the new/ bigger/ more cubicles toilets + dedicated toilet attendants to maintain the cleanliness of the toilets + more new convenience and quick bites shops right outside the gates + efforts made to alleviate the ‘flooding’ of commuters into and out of the trains at peak hours.  But Dear2 wonders if serious thoughts have really been given to these ‘improvements’ before their implementation?

Let’s take a closer look at Bukit Batok MRT station, a place where Dear1 and Dear2 passes by everyday on our way to work.  As a matter of fact, Dear2 is a strong proponent of the MRT system, for its comfort (ie aircon and spaciousness – let’s not talk about our daily sardines packing experience for now), for its timeliness (usually I do not have to wait longer than 6 mins for the next train – again, let’s not mention those unfortunate incidences due to technical errors or human misbehaviour) and for its affordability (it’s just so obvious that in terms of cost, public transport beats any private means all hands down).  Plus, Dear2 ‘loves’ Bukit Batok MRT station becos with just a 15 min walk away from home, it connects u to the rest of Singapore.  Cool.

But with SMRT’s recent ‘improvements’, Bukit Batok is not as nice as before.  Just the smell  alone is enuff to put many commuters off.  We are talking about serious smell pollution here.  We have not seen it yet, but we can no doubt sniff the distinctive smell of chicken rice once the MRT train door opens.  It’s not so bad in the mornings, when the stall has not been operating at night, but come evenings when Dear1 and Dear2 are on our way home from work, that chicken rice ‘aroma’ will surely greet us when the train door opens.  Dear2 used to be, and still is very fond of our local delight chicken rice, but this smell…. I still cannot bring myself to get close to the stall to check out this dish.

The ‘new’ red and green markings on the floor to give more allowance to alighting passengers is another funny logic.  Previously, the yellow lines were drawn too narrow becos 2 alighting passengers can come thru the passageway shoulder to shoulder spaciously, only to have to squeeze thru the human walls on both sides becos the lines converge not more than 2 steps after.  To alleviate this squeeze, they have drawn the lines further away, so now the area nearest to the train can stand 3 people and yet similarly converge to 2 files 2 steps after.  Going by the logic that the train door allows 2 files of people thru the doorway, this does seem like a very thoughtless ‘improvement’ to me.  The bent lines dun always have to be bent – u can be more efficient with just straights lines drawn at that distance.

Perhaps we can take a leaf out of Japan, where lines are drawn such that commuters line up to board the train. Even where no lines are drawn, the Japanese are courteous enuff to automatically queue up before boarding.  We can even learn from Malaysia, where the platform attendants line everyone up so that they can orderly board.  Guess ‘FIGHTING to squeeze into a train’ kind of scenes will continue to be part of the ‘gracious’ Singapore.

– Dear2


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