Spend money on shortening wait times, rather than dressing up bus stops

I commend the architects who made bold steps to add new elements to a Jurong East bus stop ("Charge your phone, enjoy free Wi-Fi, download e-books and sit on a swing at this new bus stop"; ST Online, Aug 18).

While the thought, design and new features are great individually, I am not that sure if putting all of them together in a place like a bus stop would prove practical or even improve commuters' experience.

The focus of a bus stop is for people to have a sheltered place to wait for their buses, which hopefully would not take too long to arrive.

Features such as free phone charging, free Wi-Fi and books feel more like things belonging to a cafe, whose purpose is to make customers stay longer and spend more.

Between shorter waiting periods doing nothing versus longer waiting periods with more things to do at a bus stop, I am quite sure the former is preferred.

The addition of weather and news display may be a little more practical, but if it results in a group of people crowding around the display, then I am not so sure if it is a good addition to the bus stop.

The new fans at the Ang Mo Kio MRT station bus stop are a great example of a simple yet practical feature that yields great benefits to all commuters waiting for their buses there.

At the end of the day, design should focus more on the core aspects of commuters' travelling experience, such as timely bus arrival, more buses and comfortable short waits, as compared with adding many features that are seemingly random and do not necessarily improve the core experience of commuters.

Ng Chee Siang