Ms Lim Wan Keng has made several good points ("Infrastructure redesign needed to facilitate tray return"; Thursday). However, it would not be easy to widen aisles, as it would be too disruptive.
Perhaps procedural improvements can help to make the scheme a success.
I went to Bukit Timah Food Centre with my family recently for dinner. It was packed with people. After our meal, my daughter and I each carried a tray to the tray rack.
Alas, it was stacked with trays, and if we forced our trays in, we were sure everything would fall.
The dish collector, who happened to be near the rack, scolded us and shouted at us to keep the trays on the tables.
We walked back to where we sat, but another family had already occupied the table. It would have been rude if we just left the trays in front of them, so we headed to the wash centre.
Again, my daughter was scolded by the worker there. However, she just put the tray down and walked away. I didn't think I should continue towards the wash centre, so I turned around and put my tray on an unoccupied table, which was also full of used trays.
The difficulty in finding a vacant table is further exacerbated by stallholders occupying tables near their stalls with their goods.
I am sure quicker clearing of the tray racks would make patrons more willing to participate in the scheme.
This is not the first time my family and I have experienced these problems at this hawker centre, and I have given feedback to the National Environment Agency (NEA). I received a reply that the problem had been resolved.
Perhaps NEA officers should conduct more spot checks at various times, so that they can better understand the problems on the ground.
Thomas Lee Chee Chee