Over the past few weeks, you may have noticed the Land Transport Authority’s (LTA) latest campaign banners near MRT stations, trying to bring across the message that walking, cycling and riding (the bus/ train) is a better option than taking a car. One particular banner that caught my attention depicts someone resting comfortably on a bus, with the tagline “someone else is driving, I can daydream”.
True, But Only If…
In an ideal world, the message is true. I like sitting on long bus journeys, admiring the scenery while deep in thought. It is sometimes in these reflective moments where your mind becomes more creative, more productive. Some of the topics I write on this website are conjured up on bus rides.
Then again, how often do we have the luxury of being able to find a seat on public transport, much less daydream? I am fortunate, for I have a direct premium bus that takes me to work every day. But for the rest of us, a journey to work entails praying that there’s space on the bus/ train, squeezing onto said vehicle, and praying fervently that the vehicle doesn’t break down.
Before the days of taking the premium bus, I would have to wait patiently for the only direct bus that brings me to the MRT I need to go to. It comes at around 7 to 10 minute intervals even during peak hours, and oftentimes it is fully packed by the time I board. If I manage to get on, I’ll have to stand for about ten to fifteen minutes packed with commuters all around me. Even my standing spot isn’t guaranteed, for every stop the driver makes he’ll have to shout “MOVE IN! MOVE IN!” in an effort to squeeze everyone in.
Then, taking the train brings me no joy either. While the driverless trains are generally smooth, trains on the NSEWL tend to jerk and stop without warning every so often. As someone who has a relatively high centre of gravity, it’s a challenge to maintain my balance without having anything to hang on to.
If taking public transport is as smooth as what LTA is trying to bring across, then yes, I’m all ears. In the meantime, I can probably only daydream of the day where I can daydream on the bus on the way to/ back from work.
Perhaps in future, people who come up with such campaign taglines should have the experience of taking public transport during peak hours beforehand…