Commuters happier with public transport: Poll

Of the 5,000 people surveyed last October in the poll commissioned by the Public Transport Council, 72.1 per cent felt MRT services had improved, up sharply from 50.3 per cent previously.
Of the 5,000 people surveyed last October in the poll commissioned by the Public Transport Council, 72.1 per cent felt MRT services had improved, up sharply from 50.3 per cent previously.ST PHOTO: JASMINE CHOONG

Rise in satisfaction greater for MRT in survey; waiting time and comfort get lowest scores

Commuters were more satisfied with public transport last year, according to the latest annual Pu-blic Transport Customer Satisfaction Survey.

The poll commissioned by the Public Transport Council (PTC) showed the satisfaction score rising to 7.9 out of 10, up from 7.7 in 2017. It was the fourth consecutive improvement since 2014.

The improvement in satisfaction was larger for the MRT, with the score rising from 7.5 in 2017 to 7.9.

This matched the satisfaction level for buses, which was unchanged at 7.9.

Of the 5,000 people polled last October, 77.8 per cent felt bus services had improved in the past year, down from 80.8 per cent in the preceding one-year period, while 72.1 per cent felt MRT services had improved, up sharply from 50.3 per cent previously.

Even as overall satisfaction rose, waiting time and comfort had the lowest scores among eight attributes tallied. Waiting time for buses had a score of 7.4, up from 7 in 2017, while comfort for MRT scored 7.4, up from 7.1 in 2017.

"The uptick in commuter satisfaction is a reflection of overall improvements made in rail reliability," the PTC said yesterday. "Commuters' mean satisfaction score recorded for reliability rose by 0.9, from 6.7 in 2017 to 7.6 in 2018."

Commenting on the survey results on Facebook, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said that three years of intensive maintenance, expedited asset replacement and new trains and buses are beginning to show results.

"Commuters have noticed the improvements. MRT service took a hit during 2017 and the survey that year showed a dip in its score.

"In the 2018 survey, trains' score recovered, to be on a par with buses at 7.9," he said.

 
 
 

"These results are inspiring for our transport workers on the ground. They work day and night to regain public trust. Their efforts are showing results.

"But they are not complacent. They are pressing on. They know that the commuters have high expectations. And they have to work even harder and smarter to meet the demand."

Observers said the hard work to steer public transport back to reliability should not be forgotten.

Singapore University of Social Sciences transport researcher Park Byung Joon said: "It is also important to look into other revenue sources for operators. But the first priority is good service."

Sengkang resident and author Jimmy Chua, 35, said: "I feel that there were fewer disruptions last year compared with the previous one.

"I can also see clear signage at the MRT stations for us to locate alternative bus services when the MRT service is down."

But he added that public transport capacity should be ramped up in bigger and fast-growing towns such as Sengkang and Punggol.

Marketing and communications head Eugene Mok, 33, said: "While there were visible improvements in terms of timeliness and reliability, operators should continue to enhance their road traffic tracking system to reduce bus bunching during peak hours, and also take pre-emptive measures to improve train service reliability, given that the train network is expanding."

SEE PARLIAMENT: Rail reliability rising, but so are operating costs: Khaw

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 14, 2019, with the headline 'Commuters happier with public transport: Poll'. Print Edition | Subscribe