Complaint letter: SMRT.

As an NUS student who takes the 189 bus service from Bukit Batok interchange to school almost everyday, I’ve always been pretty satisfied with the efficiency of SMRT buses.

Over the past 24-hours, however, I’ve had two unpleasant experiences with them and I actually wrote a letter to the corpcomms. The entire very long letter is after the break!

To whom it may concern,
 
My name is Gabriel and I am a student who uses SMRT bus services on a regular basis. I have usually been very satisfied with the efficiency of the services but have encountered two events in the past 24 hours that I would like to raise up to your concern.
 
1. On 1st Feb 2010, at approximately 8.25pm, my friends and I were waiting at the Kent Ridge terminal (KRT) for a 189 bus. When an SMRT bus pulled into the terminal with an “out of service” sign, we paid it no heed, assuming it was just passing by the terminal or using it as a stop point. Apparently, however, as it reached the far end of KRT, it stopped, changed the sign to a “189” display and began to take in passengers.
 
The change was abrupt and the only people who boarded the bus were the people who were lucky enough to be standing at the far end of the terminal when it stopped. When my friends and I realised that the bus was actually in service, we ran up to it. However, the door had already closed (despite it being open for only less than 20 seconds) and, even with my friends waving at the bus captain through the door, it pulled out of the terminal.
 
2. On 2nd Feb, I reached Bukit Batok bus interchange at approximately 11.04am and waited for the 11.12am 189 bus, which I have been taking on a regular basis. When the bus arrived, however, the bus captain tried the air-conditioner, said it wasn’t working and then drove off. I presumed that he was going off to change to another bus with a working air-con or something and would return soon.
 
However, no bus came and the next service which arrived was at 11.26am, which from personal experience I know to be the service after the 11.12am one. Thus, there was no actual substitution for the original bus service.
 
I would like to inquire about SMRT’s practices regarding buses that are deemed to have some sort of mechanical failure while still in the station. Although I know that if the bus spoils along the route, it would be difficult to send a substitute, I do not understand why nothing is done to remedy a failed bus when it hasn’t even left the terminal (or picked up anyone, for that matter).
 
I think it is terribly unfair to paying passengers that we have to miss a bus we had made an effort to be on time for because of a lack of good maintenance and servicing procedures. The fact that an entire bus service was left out of the loop meant that people all along the bus route suffered inconveniences and, to exacerbate matters, the following bus service would have twice the amount of (disgruntled) passengers to pick up and alight, lengthening the journey time.
 
If the 11.12am bus had proceeded as usual, I would have made my appointment destination with plenty of time to spare. Because there was no substitution or remedy for the lack of a bus, however, I ended up being late for appointment. I’m sure there were many other passengers on the bus service that experienced the same problem.
 
I am raising this up as a form of feedback and in hopes that similar incidences would not happen in the future as they reek of unprofessionalism and unpreparedness. I have always had good experiences with SMRT and hope that these are just isolated incidences.
 
Thank you and best regards,
Gabriel Wong 

Even though I might sound like some pissed-off, indignant, spoilt brat who can’t even take a moment of inconvenience, I wasn’t actually angry when I wrote the letter (having had more than an hour to cool off because I got access to a computer). I just think that incidences like the ones I mentioned should not occur (especially for such a large company that prides itself on a service-oriented approach) and want to raise it up to SMRT.

After all, it’s not like I was late for my appointment (which was a one-on-one experiment and the experimenter was waiting just for me so it was so embarrassing to be late) because of my own fault. I had left home early, sprinted for the incoming bus to the interchange and reached there in time for the bus that would usually bring me to school super-early ok?

I just hope they don’t happen again.

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