1) Take for example Jalan Eunos: the crossing only allows pedestrians to cross halfway to an island in the middle of the road, wait for another change of lights then cross the second half.The island can only take about 6 people comfortably. This design makes crossing Jalan Eunos very inconvenient and difficult especially in wet weather.
I understand that in the next few months, because of the road expansion for Jalan Eunos with a slip road for left turning traffic, this crossing will be improved to allow pedestrians to cross the whole road. This is good but it has taken many years to come to this!
2) Another example: a crossing located on Sims Avenue opposite the Eunos MRT and Bus Interchange. The response time for the pedestrian light to turn green from red takes one and a half minute by which time the road is often empty of vehicles! Most pedestrians would cross once there is clear opening without waiting for light to turn green.
LTA replied when queried that the waiting time may be slightly longer to allow motorists an unimpeded flow in order not to create a queue from any junctions. This means that motorists take precedence over pedestrians in this case! But I notice that though there is no queue at this junction, there is one at the next junction between Sims Ave and Jln Eunos especially for left turning traffic. So nobody benefits! Equal timing would be fairer and better.
3) Design of overhead bridges should take into consideration the aging population. No or less steep steps will be a boon to many elderly.
I believe though there will be recalcitrant jaywalkers, the majority of pedestrians would use crossing if they are properly designed with the pedestrian in mind.
One example of current technology in place is the automatic fare update system. This system allows the fare stages to be automatically updated as the bus approaches the bus shelters. This means that information about the bus such as its arrival time at the shelter can be captured. The information can be used by the bus captain to determine whether he is on schedule or whether he needs to speed up. This will reduce the cases of 'bus bunching' that are still happening, where two or more buses of the same service number arrive at the same bus shelter within seconds of each other.
Other ways the transport operators can use this information are
1) in the review of bus routes to avoid situations where some routes have many bus services while others have only one service;
2) review of the increase or decrease frequency of buses of the same service arriving at the bus shelters and
3) the change of bus types (e.g. from single deck to double deckers or 'Bendy' bus) so that more passengers can board if the particular service is always packed along its bus routes.
Finally, the bus captains determine to a great measure what standards can be achieved. With proper training, a service-oriented attitude and the technology that is in place, they can truly 'pilot' their vehicles safely and on schedule giving each passenger value-for-money travel.
At the end of the day, if operational cost is the main reason for hiking the fares, perhaps it is time to review whether a merger (akin to the Mediacorp/Mediaworks merger) would be better in the long run. A merger will avoid increased cost due to duplication of services and competition while ensuring a truly integrated bus-rail system.
My experience with some companies here in Singapore is not the case. It seems customer-centric management and relations do not exist or are not practiced in these companies. My two main grouses are companies "not keeping their word" and "no response to email queries".
I have on numerous occasions called up different companies to query or complaint about a product or service. The receiving staff would say that they would call back but often they do not. A recent example is the Meritus Mandarin Gold Privilege Club program manager. After promising to call me back about a complaint that I made, he never did.
This attitude, which I called the "ostrich" approach, does not help customer relations at all. It is better to say what you mean and mean what you say otherwise trust is broken.
The second grouse is also prevalent with companies that provide email addresses or links on their website, which they do not intend to reply to. Back to my recent experience - having received no call back from the manager, I decided to email but again no response from the email address provided on the Mandarin website.
If an organization or company provides a feedback or contact email link, the queries or requests should be answered within a maximum of 3 working days. If more time is needed for a comprehensive reply, then a courtesy email should be sent, stating that the person's queries are being looked into. And the follow-up email should be within a maximum of 7 working days from the courtesy email.
Simple customer-centric practices like these would go a long way to cultivate customer loyalty essential for every business. Unless and until businesses in Singapore realize and practise these customer-centric activities, a lot of them would lose not just their current customer but many potential "referred" customers as well.
Addendum: Don't apply for Meritus Mandarin Gold Privilege Club! It is not worth the money spent.
My experience with Sony Discmans is a case in point. Both discmans malfunction after their 1 year warranty expired. The first was sent for repair and cost me $40. It worked for a year and died. The second was sent for repair but the estimate was too high and I decided not to carry on with the repair.
Lesson learnt: forget buying Sony products - they don't last !
Last month (April 2003) I bought a Hitachi Video Cassette Recorder(VCR) from BEST which after two weeks of use, required the video head to be cleaned. After the serviceman came and cleaned it, the next day the head became dirty again. I called the company and requested for a replacement set which they gave.
Now after 10 days of use, the video head of the new replacement VCR is again dirty.
Lesson learnt - avoid Hitachi products.
I decided to purchase a Sony VCR from Courts (as my previous VCR was a Sony which I had used for 7 years) but within 24 hrs the video head of this brand new VCR is also dirty. This is despite the fact that all along I have been using Sony quality videocassettes.
When I went back to Courts and asked for a replacement (which unfortunately they could not do so as there was no stock), one of the staff opened the VCR and started to clean the head with 2 pieces of paper despite the fact that I asked whether this would void the warranty!
He told me it's OK and told me that nowadays the video heads of all VCRs are not very well made and gets dirty easily.
It seems this anomaly is common among this 'low-end' electrical product. What recourse/action can a consumer take ? Is there a way where the manufacturers' can be brought to realise their need for certain measure of quality even for low-end products?
If an organisation/company provides a feedback/contact email link, the queries/requests should be answered within 3 working days.
If more time is needed for a comprehensive reply, then a courtesy email stating that the person's queries are being looked into. And the follow-up email should be within 7 working days from the courtesy email.
If this simple rule cannot be adhered to, then it would be better for the company to remove such links from their websites.
My practice now is for goverment-related websites, my queries are sent directly to the email of the person-in-charge (email found from government directory).
For Dell and other "non-responding" companies, I bring my business somewhere else.
I was wondering about the movie "I not stupid". There was a scene where Jack Neo, Hossan Leong and a few colleagues were smoking in the gents. Though I think it was to depict what does happen in Singapore (where smoking is confined), it was not actually essential for the storyline. Smoking in toilets by the way is a bad habit as it leaves a terrible smell for a long time!
This is especially since the movie was also targetted at family audiences. This smoking scene could project a sublime message that "it's OK to smoke but keep it hidden" to children who are watching the movie.
I do hope that the producers of this movie did not have to 'get sponsorship' from tobacco companies.
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