Sunday, March 18, 2012

Singapore vs Tokyo - MRT vs Trains, Subway, & Shinkansen

I have been living in Singapore for about 2 years. The impression i have for Singapore MRT is pretty good. You know, convenient, timing accurate, not like the one in Kuala Lumpur. It was hopeless. Now the Sungai Buloh-Kajang MRT are being constructed. Hopefully it would be run in a first class manner.

I went to Tokyo about 3 weeks ago. Then i get to experience the public transport system over there. It was great, even when compare to the Singapore's. In Tokyo they don't really call it MRT. They are Trains and Subway, run by dozen of companies. Singapore MRTs were run by two, SMRT & SBS. Now we don't compare on the quantity of companies or number of lines.

Tokyo Subway Route Map

Singapore MRT Map 2012

First thing, speed. MRT of Singapore, in average travel at about 50-60km/h, with occasional stops in between stations, for no reason whatsoever. Maybe the one in front is late moving out from the station. I mean, SMRT or SBS should have had done it better. Whereas Tokyo, even the slowest train easily travels at about 100km/h with no stop in between stations. In fact they have rapid line which bypass low traffic stations so that you could get to your destination faster. Of course you can only do so if you are alighting at stations which the rapid line does stops. What about the Shinkansen aka bullet train? Well, you can tell by its name.

The distance between stations, as far as i have seen, there is none closer than 2km. In Singapore however, it stops like every 1km or less. The travel time/km is much higher than Tokyo's. Of course when you have stations further away from each other you need to walk further or take buses to reach there. But that is the whole point of having buses to compliment the entire transportation system right? Why having buses while you have trains stopping every 1km? It is a waste of resources.

To make travel using bus better preferred, the time table shown in the bus stations shall be deadly accurate. Thus it allows people to estimate accurately the time they need to travel from one destination to another. Less time is spent waiting at the bus station as well, because you know that the bus will reach at exactly 3.15pm, and not plus minus 5 mins of 3.15pm. Buses in Tokyo never move out from its station earlier than the time shown in each stations. Of course the estimated time to travel from one stations to another is highly accurate too.

I wrote about Singapore MRT when i first came to Singapore. That was nearly 2 years ago. The Circle Line was not complete back then. Now it travels through Pasir Panjang and terminating at Harbour Front.

Amid recent constant breakdowns of Singapore MRT, there are a lot the management of SMRT needs to be done to resolve it. Before the name of Singapore MRT got worse.


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