Sunday, 10 October 2010

Gotta Love That Ride

The Dim Sum Dollies hope you Love Your Ride
One last entry on Singapore before I heading back about Liu Xiaobo, China and other Hong Kong-related topics.

Singapore's subway system called MRT and on the whole is quite efficient. Residents usually have a transit pass much like an Octopus card in Hong Kong which can also be used on buses. Visitors can get a ticket from the vending machine by using coins or bills. You just press the destination on the screen and it gives you the amount, which is usually over S$2 ($1.53).

However the ticket is a generic plastic card that is used to get through the turnstiles but that's not all. After getting to your destination, you can go back to the vending machine and press "return deposit", slip the card back in the slot and get S$1 ($0.77) deposit back.

While it's a pleasant surprise to get money back, it can be a drag waiting in line just to get a coin. Why they can't just follow Hong Kong and the machine just collects the card at the end of the ride is beyond me. However, now that I think about it, the staff don't have to physically take the cards from the turnstiles back to the machine.

Still... it's the time spent!

Also on the subway, I wish I had taken a picture, but there was a sign at the entrance of one station with a graphic of a durian with a line crossed through it with "no durian" written on there too. Durian is not my fruit of choice, which is why I appreciate the sign for reminding passengers not to bring the smelly fruit on board!

Here in Hong Kong we always stand on the right of the escalator to let people pass on the left. But in Singapore it's the exact opposite -- commuters stand on the left which is strange considering the steering wheel in cars are on the right like Hong Kong.

And finally the MRT has a campaign called "Love Your Ride" or "有愛心, 多開心". It features three bubbly Chinese women called the Dim Sum Dollies in various sizes dressed in colourful dresses who sing four public service announcement ditties.

One is "Love Your Ride", another is "Please queue", "Please give up your seat" and "Please move in". Check out the music video at the bottom of this link which literally spells out what people should and should not do on the trains and buses.

Only in Singapore.

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