Saturday, August 7, 2010

The new distance-based fares

The new distance fare reminds me of the good old days (before MRT) when, as a student, I can make as many as transfers as I need with a monthly student bus stamp. With the new distance fare, I can again feel free, almost free, to transfer buses.

Previously, from Buona Vista to Toa Payoh, I used to take bus 105, which waiting time can be as long as 30 mins or more. Now, I have several options. My ultimate aim is to go via Whitley road, so my options are:

Take buses 100 147 196 198 to Mujahidin Mosque, transfer to buses 153 to TPY, or buses 93 855 to Farrer road, transfer to buses 153 to TPY, or buses 48 186 to Whitley road, transfer to buses 105 153 to TPY, or 151, 154 to Jalan TPY, transfer to the many buses that go into TPY.

Another example was yesterday when taking bus 106 to Orchard MRT, instead of walking a longer distance, by transferring to bus 77 which is just in front of 106, I could alight at the Lucky Plaza stop and walked a shorter distance.

I also realized that waiting time is not too bad if you have 2 or more buses to take.

However, I think not many people are like me who don't mind changing buses and know of enough bus routes to do so. Also, for some people who don't picture a 2D map based on directions, but some kind of warped map that have straight lines between any two places of interest, it should be quite difficult for them to worked out their transfer options. I suggest these people get a navigator software that provide bus/MRT mode for your travel planning.

Now, if they really want us to transfer, I hope they facilitate us by letting us know what are the buses in front and behind of the bus we are on. By knowing the bus I intend to transfer to is in front, i.e. just passed, or behind, i.e. no waiting time, it helps me to make better bus transferring decisions.

Btw, the IRIS is a too complex a system that provides good information but have a poor presentation. For me, just a list of arriving buses in order of arrival already help a lot. Of course providing the time also good. However, my idea is if they could just show the arrival times of buses at a bus stop before the current one, this should fulfill identical purpose of the IRIS, in a much simple way. Or at least, orientate the current display panel to allow more people to see it.

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