From car to public transport

At the Chinese Garden MRT before peak hours
At the Chinese Garden MRT at 7.50am on Tuesday morning

With the cost of buying and owning a car in Singapore inching upwards with every month more car owners have had to give up their independence and mobility and become users of public transport. I had to do so and have been taking public transport for the past two months. The jury is still out, but my tentative feel is that our public transport system is good. The MRT and the buses are clean and effective and they do get you from one place to another in comfort and safety if not on schedule. However the peak hours can be suffocatingly crowded. Of course this can be alleviated by timing your trips earlier or later. It has been 30 years since I have to depend on public transport so much. By the grace of God my transition has been mainly positive. There are several things that have happened to me and I have made several observations during this transition:

My daughter had to teach me the tactics of positioning to increase your chances of getting a seat on the MRT.

I have walked more and perspired more than when I had a car.

The huge fans at the MRT stations are my favourite things about the MRT stations.

I now prefer short-sleeved cotton shirts for comfort.

I carry a small black umbrella in my bag for sunshine as well as rain. I find it cuts off 60%

Daughter mentoring father on MRT tactics
Daughter mentoring father on tactics

of the heat and I perspire less.

I deliberately walk slowly.

Planning to leave much earlier for trips is something I am getting used to.

Review of sermons before preaching on Sunday is now done in the MRT on the way to the service.

Getting a taxi on Sunday can be difficult unless you book them.

Taking a taxi when it’s necessary is something I need to get used to as I am not used to spending that kind of money.

I have recently decided to stop carrying my laptop to office unless it is absolutely necessary. Its too heavy. The Samsung tablet is my companion and I am going to try working from an external hard disk on an extra laptop in the office.

My backpack can be full and heavy at times, especially when I borrow or return books from Trinity library.

I feel loved and humbled with the numerous offers to give me a lift, some even going the second and third mile to do that.

The transition made me consider alternative modes of transport like the Brompton, a foldable portable bike allowed by MRT and buses.The LTA has ruled out electric stand scooters.

I cannot go nearest where I want, and when I want, and at the speed I want, like when I had a car to use. Public transport tells me, You can only go thus far and by this time.

Each time I hear the “TEENH” in the MRT turnstile it is my Money Rapidly Taken (MRT).

On the whole I am amazed at my rapid adjustment during my transition to public transport. God gives the grace. He has given me a grateful heart. Thank God also for the smart phone. And also for times to be quiet before Him as you stand in the train. This is a transition many in Singapore will have to make. Most retirees will have to give up their cars and adjust too. God gives us the grace.

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