Frequent train delays on free-ride trial

SINGAPORE - I was among the commuters who travelled for free last Thursday under the trial that offers free train rides to early birds.

Between Punggol and Outram stations, the wait at certain platforms was longer than usual. Announcements were made that trains would take longer at these stops.

I reached my destination of Tanjong Pagar before the 7.45am cut-off for free rides. But if I didn't meet the time, would I be made to pay the fare even though the delay was caused by the train operator?

Train fare aside, if, after leaving home earlier, I was late reaching my office due to train delays, I would be displeased.

Then I would rather start my day late and join the usual morning rush-hour crowd.

No matter how many free rides are offered, consumers will not change their travel patterns if prompt service cannot be delivered, and the overcrowding would continue.

The train operator has the means of paying any fine the authorities levy.

But ultimately, it is the consumer who "pays" the price when the train is delayed.

Stewart Sanjay Soloman