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Monday, 14 September 2009

Where's the escalator yellow box?

As everyone knows, in Singapore, we have signs that teach you how to use basic things. Like how to wash your hands. And how to queue.

And how to use an escalator safely.

Almost all escalators have a safety guide. One of the key things that you're supposed to do is to stand within the yellow box that's marked out on each step. This is to prevent your foot and/or footwear from getting caught at the sides, and for you not to trip over the edge of a step.

Escalator safety sign

Now here's the thing: when you stand on an escalator and look down, here's what you see:

Where's the yellow box on the escalator?

So... where's the safety yellow box?

Logically, you'd paint around the entire border of the steps. It turns out that most escalators just have the box painted on the inside of the steps. As a result, if you're especially rule-abiding and try to stand within a yellow box on the escalator, you'll probably find yourself unable to do so. Which makes you feel unsafe.

Which goes against the whole idea of making escalators safe to use.

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Monday, 20 April 2009

Save 1-4 cents per bus journey!

On April 1, the two major public bus transport operators, SBS Transit and SMRT Buses, reduced their trunk service fares by two cents across the board, while also increasing the transfer rebate to 50 cents. This was, of course, greeted to great cheers from the bus-traveling public, especially after years of fare increases -- and corresponding profit increases.

But how would you like to save a few cents more? More specifically, you can save between one and four cents per trip. It's possible and entirely acceptable! This isn't a hoax. I've tested it on several trips since the fare changes came into effect, and have managed to achieve the savings. And you can do it too!

(Aside: Gosh, I sound like a spammer/telemarketer/TV advertiser!)

First, you can get these savings only if your original fare is $1.11 or less. That works out to a distance of about 19 bus stops. (The bus stop that you board the bus counts as one.)

Second, you need to pay for your fares with an EZ-Link card. In that way, you qualify for the 50-cent transfer rebates -- a HUGE factor in getting your extra savings.

Third, you must be willing to transfer buses, because that's how you can get your 50-cent rebates. In addition, you cannot transfer to the same bus service, e.g. don't transfer from service 63 to service 63. If you transfer between the same service, you lose your 50-cent rebate!

With those three points in mind, here's how to get your savings:

1. Save one cent
First bus journey: no more than 69 cents in fare, or about seven bus stops.
Second bus journey: no more than 91 cents in fare, or about 12 bus stops. (You should reach your destination by then.)
Total fare = $0.69 + $0.91 - $0.50 (rebate) = $1.10
Original fare = $1.11
Savings = $1.11 - $1.10 = one cent!

2. Save three cents
First bus journey: no more than 69 cents in fare, or about seven bus stops.
Second bus journey: also no more than 69 cents in fare, or about seven bus stops. (You should reach your destination by then.)
Total fare = $0.69 + $0.69 - $0.50 (rebate) = $0.88
Original fare = $0.91
Savings = $0.91 - $0.88 = three cents!

3. Save four cents
First bus journey: no more than 69 cents in fare, or about seven bus stops.
Second bus journey: also no more than 69 cents in fare, or about seven bus stops.
Third bus journey: again, no more than 69 cents in fare, or about seven bus stops. (You should reach your destination by then.)
Total fare = $0.69 + $0.69 + $0.69 - $0.50 (first rebate) - $0.50 (second rebate) = $1.07
Original fare = $1.11
Savings = $1.11 - $1.07 = four cents!

(There's no method to save two cents. At least, none that I'm aware of!)

Personally speaking, I'm sure that the bus operators had realised before implementing the fare changes that commuters would be able to save the additional few cents with these methods. But I think they also determined that commuters would be too lazy to make so many transfers, so there would be no need to recalculate the base fares.

But now that you know, it's time to stick it to the man! Deny SBS Transit and SMRT Buses your four cents!

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