ST Oct 24, 2006I can believe those statistics about the car population. After all, the overall number of people living in Singapore rose by about 12 per cent over the period 1997-2004. So the percentage rise in car population is roughly the same as the percentage rise in human population.
Push to get more people to take public transport
This is among aims of a review to set land transport directions for next 10-15 years
TEN years after the White Paper on Land Transport was published, Transport Minister Raymond Lim yesterday announced that his ministry was going back to the drawing board to map out new directions for the next 10 to 15 years.
Among other things, planners will work out how to get more Singaporeans - including those who can afford to drive a car - onto the bus or train.
'We will have to work harder to make public transport a choice mode for the vast majority of Singaporeans for routine day-to-day commuting,' he said at the SBS Transit headquarters in Braddell Road.
'This is because, for a dense urban city-state such as ours, it will be catastrophic to allow private transport to be the dominant transport mode, as it will cause huge degradation to the city's liveability and quality of life.'
The comprehensive review, to be done over a year or so, will take into account the views of the travelling public and stakeholders such as transport operators.
Mr Lim promised to incorporate a 'human dimension' to land transport planning: 'Our transport system, while having to be as efficient as possible, must ultimately serve the people who use it.'
But it is clear that his focus is on public transport, which has seen its share of morning trips fall from 67 per cent in 1997 to 63 per cent in 2004.
The reason: more people now own cars - and drive them intensively.
The car population went up 10 per cent over the 1997-2004 period, while daily car trips more than doubled, rising 23 per cent.
In other words, it isn't as if the proportion of car-owning Singapore residents has actually gone up. It's just that the overall number of people living in Singapore residents (car owners included) has gone up.
As for the other figures, the ST article isn't so clear, but I assume that it's trying to say that:
(a) in 1997, 67% of people travelled in the morning by public transport; and approximately 10% travelled by car (the remaining 23% presumably either walked or don't normally travel in the morning);
(b) in 2004, 63% of people travelled in the morning by public transport; and approximately 23% travelled by car (the remaining 14% presumably either walked or don't normally travel in the morning).
A plausible interpretation is simply that in 2004, a higher proportion of people living in Singapore actually go to work or school in the morning (as compared to the situation in 1997). Again this doesn't surprise me. This seems to be a fairly predictable consequence of our foreign talent policy, which kicked off in earnest roughly around 1997, in fact.
Mr Lim's aim is for the bus and rail system to account for 70 per cent of all morning peak-hour rides. To achieve this, the Land Transport Authority will examine whether more rail lines are needed.I like that last bit about the trees. It's nice to know that the authorities even consider this an issue at all. By the way, whatever happened to this tree?
It will also review the public transport regulatory framework to see, for example, how to cater to commuters who are willing to pay more for better bus services.
'We must aim high, with the test being whether people who have a choice of private or public transport are won over to our public transport system. To achieve that, people must feel that 'my other car is a bus' or train, as the case may be.'
The need to get more people on public transport is urgent, given the burgeoning car population, maturing road network and the increasing numbers of residents and visitors.
The new land transport roadmap will have to contend with issues such as the level of tolerable road congestion, electronic road pricing (ERP) coverage and rates, and whether more trees should be cut down to make way for roads.
Mr Lim said the fundamentals of Singapore's land transport policy will, however, remain the same: promote public transport, optimise road usage and manage demand for private vehicles.Get help? You mean, like this guy over here? I hear his family didn't even have enough money to take public transport to the mortuary to see if it was really his body lying there.
This time, transport planners will be able to build on what has been achieved in the 1996 White Paper. Among other things, it settled the financing system for public transport infrastructure and led to ERP implementation.
At the ground level, however, people are more interested in who will pay for the transport system that is being envisioned.
But Mr Lim yesterday pledged that the general public would be able to afford public transport fares, while those who couldn't would continue to get help.
Technorati: Singapore; public transport.