Serenity In The Chaos of Singapore MRT
Quick stops, frequent breakdowns and over 100 stations covering 199.6 kilometres; all aboard the Singapore Mass Rapid Transit!
If you aren’t fresh off the aeroplane, you would have probably used the MRT (mass rapid transit) before. It’s one of three main popular modes of public transportation in Singapore and it holds a varying range of pros and cons, amongst other things of course.
Reliable (kind of).
Singapore often prides itself on two things; efficiency and cleanliness. The MRT lives up to these standards. Trains run fast, the system boasts a vast number of stations across the island, cabins are clean and everything looks pretty new.
However, over the past few years, the number of train breakdowns and surprised delays have left a bad taste in the mouth of commuters. Most of the time, the waiting duration flashed on the screens at stations are pretty accurate. But sometimes, a delay could really ruin one’s day.
Solely because of this, the reliability once associated with our ‘speed carriages’ has taken a blow. Now, needless to say, being caught in one of these delays is infuriating.
The lifestyle in Singapore revolves around efficiency and expedited progress; so could you imagine a 10 min delay from home to work? It ruins your clock-work planning while leaving you frustrated in a metal tube, helplessly trying to understand what’s jeopardising your week’s itinerary.
Can’t stand it
Enter the positional options of rush hour train commutes. Close to 90% of the time, if you’re boarding a train during rush hour, getting a seat to rest your weary tush is but a dream. Sure, standing is alright; when you don’t really have any other options.
Courtesy dictates that commuters should move in, away from the train doors, to allow other passengers to enter. Courtesy also whispers that you should refrain from leaning on handrails and poles.
However, the smart commuter knows of prime real estate located just in between priority seats and the train door. A glass panel to lean on, a great view of approaching stops, next to the train map and emergency assistance panel; it’s beautiful.
Another option is the area between carriages. This wide space offers a standing room for 3-4 people. The constant rocking side-to-side isn’t desirable but hey, it beats not being lazy. For some reason, the air conditioning here is great. The flow of the train somehow channels cold air towards this area.
While on the pretence of being courteous, moving in towards the centre of the cabin is actually a great idea. While you will hardly get a seat upon entering the cabin, unless you rush which you shouldn’t, there is a chance an empty seat might pop up.
So position yourself there and wait for the optune moment before casually claiming a seat. Remember, don’t seem too eager and do give it up for those more deserving.
It actually isn’t too bad.
When it comes down to weighing the positives and negatives, the MRT is not all too bad. Try to plan your trips around the better hours and it’s a pretty decent mode of transportation. You will skip the ERP, road jams, won’t need to worry about parking, stations might be right beside your serviced apartment and you’ll save a fair bit of money.
But if you do need to travel during peak hours, keep our rough suggestions in mind and chug along. Let’s be honest, it could be a lot worse.