I am a big metro fan, I am irrationally attached to metro rides! I mean what is really there to it? You get inside the train at one end and emerge somewhere else! And yet that gives me a high! I love using metros across the world. I use #themetroproject to capture my own social media updates! But I took a long time to write about my Singapore Metro (MRT as they call it) experience.
On second thoughts, I like the metros and trams because they are cost effective too. I shudder to think what would happen to my bank balance if I ended up taking taxi rides instead of the metro to explore a city!
I used the MRT extensively to get around in Singapore. I was there for the #escapers17 event. I had a few days to myself before the event which I devoted to roaming around in Singapore. My joy was double as I could reach everywhere using the MRT. Singapore has an amazing public transport.
I bought the Singapore Tourist Card and loaded it for 3 days! It took care of all my public transportation needs. I did not return it as I like to collect the metro cards. I can use the Singapore Card the next time I am there as a normal metro card.
As I was staying at Ibis Singapore on Bencoolen the nearest MRT station was Bugis. It was convenient for me as it was on the downtown line. Many attractions are on the same line.
I found changing the lines and reading the maps easy. It must be the use over different countries that gave me confidence. Otherwise I can get lost in a telephone booth if it has two exits! I saw school kids coming back home using the metro. It must be considered really safe. I asked a reader if I could click a picture of his book and he readily agreed.
A lot of stickers that I noticed, my local friend didn’t even look at them once! The stickers ask the users to be polite to each-other. Singapore Metro is a driverless system (at least the sections that I used) so if you board the first or the last car you can look out! I did it a lot. Photography is allowed on the Singapore MRT. Some of the stations open in malls. And then you walk a lot to emerge out of the station!
Singapore was my first trip abroad way back in 1999. I was impressed by the infrastructure and the people then, I am impressed by them now!
I am happy that I could use the MRT on my own extensively. A good mass transport system makes exploring Singapore so easy!
I was waiting at a crowded metro station for the train to come. It was hot and sultry, my shirt was sticking to my back. I was dreading the jostle that would follow the arrival of the metro. My companion was oblivious; she seemed not to have a care in the world. The crowd did not daunt her the way it got to me. How I envied her!
I hate traveling in crowded public transport in India. So many times, I have picked up a fight. I remember an educated young guy, who was sitting too close for my comfort in a bus, telling me to travel by auto when I objected and asked him to move aside.
Another time, I just took a cigarette from a guy’s hand and threw it out of the bus window because he would not stop smoking even after repeated requests. There have been wandering hands (on so many occasions) in my direction and my loud protests, even an occasional pushing away someone rudely and physically. All these scenes were passing through my mind while I was waiting.
Finally, the metro arrived and I moved along with my friend to board it. Somehow, we were the first few people to get inside. I was bracing myself to face the crowd as they started pouring in. My jaws dropped up to my knees as I found people, guys actually, tiptoeing around me to get in.
No, I was not dreaming. I was boarding the train in Singapore (it was way back in 1999) and it was my first ever visit abroad. Having experienced only the Indian crowd (which is rowdy in most of the cities, apart from a few exceptions) I expected the same hassles there. My friend had been staying in Singapore for the past three years and thus was totally unconcerned.
How I wish this scene would become true of India in my lifetime, but I have very little hope.
PS. I updated this post with a photo in 2018. The photo is from a 2017 trip to Singapore.
I am Mridula Dwivedi, I love to travel! I started my travel blog in 2005. I have been going places since! For more details do check out my media kit! In another life I did a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur. I was a professor when I quit my job in 2015.
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