Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"Go there." Singapore's system to aid public transit riders

This morning, I traveled by bus and metro to Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower. My mission was to secure an ‘employment pass,‘ a final or at least near final step in the complex process of legitimizing my role as a wage-earner in Singapore. I arrived 45 minutes prior to my appointment. Where official matters are concerned in my international travels, I try to allow ample time for missteps, getting lost or other impediments along the way. This morning, there were none.

My travels on Singapore’s metro (MRT) and far more complex bus system has been made far easier by the ‘Go There’ information-technology-based directions system, which is available via the Internet on my computer and in an easily readable application on my iPhone. You simply type in your point of origination, destination and whether you prefer to travel by bus, or by bus and rail in combination. Clicking on the ‘Go There” button produces the bus routes and metro routes, stops, transit and waiting times and, if walking is required, the number of meters. Incorporating all of this, there is an estimate of how long the trip will take. In my few experiments with the system, so far, the estimates have never been off by more than 5 minutes.

So having allowed time to spare, the was ample time to repair to a Hawker’s Stand, with colorful orange tables and blue umbrellas, for a fresh lime juice with ice (cost about $1.00). And there was time to compose this blog. Now, its off to the Ministry.



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