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The standard of service from the civil/government services


Alfrescian (Inf)

Forum: Wheelchairs at Changi airport are rusty, small, uncomfortable​

Dec 5, 2023

Being disabled, I require wheelchair assistance at airports, as most airports are huge and long walks are required.
In Istanbul, Turkey, wheelchairs are high-tech – an attendant stands on a small platform attached to the back of the wheelchair and “drives” me to the plane. In Japan, I am manually wheeled by attendants using luxuriously cushioned wheelchairs. In Jakarta, wheelchairs are large and comfortable.
But wheelchairs at Changi airport are in bad shape. They are rusty, small, uncomfortable and rickety metal chairs with tiny wheels attached, which make loud noises when in motion. I have used them at least 14 times since the days of the pandemic.
We are proud of our award-winning airport, but the needs of wheelchair-users seem neglected. Surely this is an area that can be improved upon.

Michael Loh Toon Seng


Alfrescian (Inf)

Forum: Swarm of mosquitoes after their release under Project Wolbachia​

DEC 6, 2023

I read a report recently that the National Environment Agency (NEA) is planning to release male Wolbachia mosquitoes in other estates (Five more residential areas to be part of Project Wolbachia to curb dengue, Nov 22).
The aim is to reduce the population of female Aedes mosquitoes, which can transmit the dengue virus.
While residents welcome this move, NEA should do an in-depth study of the optimal number of male mosquitoes to be released. I understand that it can be in the thousands in one estate over a period of time and the date of such releases is unknown to residents.
In Opera Estate where I live, the release has been done a number of times, resulting in a swarm of these male mosquitoes in houses in the neighbourhood.
These mosquitoes hide in dark corners and many are seen settling on the toilet bowl and flying around in the house. I had to buy many mosquito containers to trap them and manage the problem.
We contacted NEA a number of times and its inspectors came to our house, collecting many samples in the process from the black mosquito containers.
The inspectors told me that these were male mosquitoes and their release was handled by another department in NEA, and hence we had to learn to live with these insects.

Is NEA able to determine the optimal number of mosquitoes released in each estate and notify residents before doing so?

Sunil Kumar Sharma


Alfrescian (Inf)

Forum: Improve accuracy of timings for buses on MyTransport app​

JAN 18, 2024

Like many commuters, I use the MyTransport app to plan trips, and I would commend the app as it can potentially help commuters to plan trips and eliminate waiting time.
However, the timings shown in the MyTransport app fluctuate wildly and are inaccurate at times, causing frustration for commuters who end up wasting time waiting for buses.
The feedback I received from the Land Transport Authority (LTA) is that the bus-arrival prediction times are based on a combination of scheduled bus departure times provided by the bus operator and real-time bus information.
The system assumes that a bus will depart at the time specified in the schedule by the bus operator.
I urge LTA to review the MyTransport app to eliminate the inaccuracies and its dependency on scheduled bus departure times.

Ang Bock Leng


Alfrescian (Inf)

Forum: Push to use technology should not make things more difficult for users​

JAN 30, 2024

The Government’s across-the-board push to use technology may be resulting in government agencies’ systems unwittingly becoming rather user-unfriendly for those who are less tech-savvy.
This is especially felt by elderly citizens who are less educated or who might not have the ability or the hardware to successfully navigate QR codes, create PDFs, upload documents or use e-services without help.
One example of how user-unfriendly a government system can be is the submission of a medical report to the Traffic Police (TP) for the revalidation of the driving licence by those aged 65 and above.
According to the standard computer-generated letter from the TP on this matter, each report has to be in a PDF/JPEG format and uploaded via the e-service portal using the Singpass app.
Despite the instructions in their letter, the TP, when queried on the phone, are willing to accept the physical report sent through the mail. I wonder why this option was not included in the letter. The affected number of licensed drivers in this age group is relatively small and such an option would be most welcome by those who are technically less savvy and unable to get help.
The use of technology and online processes in government systems to the fullest extent possible is necessary and critical in this digital age. However, such systems cannot and should not be justified solely on grounds of administrative expediency and efficiency at the expense of being less user-friendly and service-oriented.

Ang Ah Lay


Alfrescian (Inf)

Shelving of SimplyGo plan exposes LTA’s lack of preparedness: Observers​


Some passengers expressed frustration at the inconvenience they had to bear to update their ez-link cards. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY
Kok Yufeng and Tan Wei Xuan

JAN 26, 2024

SINGAPORE - The shelving of plans to phase out older adult public transport payment cards was met with relief by public transport users, who said they were glad their concerns were heard.
But some felt the aborted exercise was ultimately redundant, and expressed frustration at the inconvenience they had to bear to update their ez-link cards.
Observers said the shelving of plans to move towards SimplyGo, an account-based ticketing platform, on Jan 22 exposed issues with the Land Transport Authority’s (LTA) communication strategy and lack of preparedness.
Transport Minister Chee Hong Tat said the authorities will spend an extra $40 million to allow commuters to continue using older ez-link and Nets FlashPay cards, which operate on an old card-based ticketing system.
He said LTA will allow those who updated their ez-link cards to SimplyGo between Jan 9 and 22 to exchange them for those that rely on the card-based system for free. This would allow them to view fare information and their card’s balance when they tap out from a bus or MRT stop – something SimplyGo cannot yet do.
Ms Valerie Lim, 25, will be among those making the switch back to a non-SimplyGo card.
The engineering undergraduate updated her ez-link card to be compatible with SimplyGo on Jan 21.

Ms Lim said she prefers to be able to see her card balance at fare gates and bus card readers, so she knows how much she spends.
“The Government should have thought about the public’s opinion before coming up with this type of policy, as they have to understand that some of us prefer to use normal ez-link cards or might not have access to technology,” she added.
Ms Claudine Ho, 51, a medical industry administrator, said it took her husband three tries at three locations before he could update his senior concession card so it could work with SimplyGo.

She added: “If LTA wants to roll out a new system, make sure people on the ground can manage.”
Insurance manager Madeline Tan, 51, uses a SimplyGo card, but said she does not support LTA’s transition plan as she was concerned some people would not know how to use the SimplyGo app to check their card balance.
Mr Daniel Cheng, 30, a food-and-beverage employee, said he switched to SimplyGo and has no plans to go back.
He added: “All I need to do is to check the app for the balance in my card; it is not a big deal to me. I can see why people were upset over the Government making the change compulsory. I am glad they changed it back.”

In response to queries, LTA said it carried out market testing and focus-group discussions with adult commuters and concession card holders before finalising its SimplyGo transition plan.
It said it decided to make all adult commuters switch to SimplyGo only after it found that two in three adult fare transactions were made using the platform.
In 2021, LTA issued account-based transit cards to more than 1,000 concession card holders as part of a trial.
The general feedback was supportive, and LTA said these concession card holders, including persons with disabilities, tertiary students and full-time national servicemen, did not mind that they could not immediately view fare deductions or their card balance.
Parents of students also found the account-based system useful, as it allowed them to top up their children’s cards remotely.
From its engagements, the group with the most concerns was seniors. Hence, LTA said it decided from the get-go that the card-based ticketing system would be extended for all concession card holders so they would not be affected by the broader switch to SimplyGo.

Associate Professor Walter Theseira, head of the urban transportation programme at the Singapore University of Social Sciences, said the backlash against SimplyGo was the result of a policy blind spot.
While SimplyGo may be a better system for many, the mistake was to assume that all commuters would like the account-based system, he added.
LTA also did not explain thoroughly why it needed to phase out the card-based ticketing system, he said.
On the extra $40 million that will be spent so commuters may continue using older cards, Prof Theseira said it was an avoidable expense but one worth paying to ensure they do not feel excluded from the public transport system.
He said the authorities must ask themselves if they could have engaged the public better, and if there were more innovative ways to improve payments so people view account-based systems as a genuine upgrade.

Dr Carol Soon, principal research fellow at the Institute of Policy Studies, whose research interests include digital and public engagement, highlighted several problems with the SimplyGo roll-out.
For one thing, the lack of interoperability between SimplyGo cards and other payment systems, such as those for motoring expenses, spawned expectations of inconvenience.
There also appeared to have been a lack of user-centricity at the product-design stage, and a failure to anticipate how different public segments would react to the roll-out.
“This is not the pandemic when decisions have to be made and implemented with little time. Adequate time would or should have been put aside,” she said.
Transport analyst Terence Fan from the Singapore Management University said it is evident that the logistics of the transition were not thought through.

LTA said it carried out market testing and focus-group discussions with adult commuters and concession card holders before finalising its SimplyGo transition plan. PHOTO: ST FILE
Assistant Professor Fan also noted that this was the second time in recent months that LTA had changed course in response to a public outcry.
The first episode was in November 2023, when it reversed its decision to withdraw bus service 167.
“Singapore’s public transport system as it stands is still world-class, but I think people are going to question the wisdom of LTA’s management going forward,” Prof Fan added.
Looking ahead, he said LTA would eventually have to move to a single ticketing system, but the authority should make tweaks to make the system more palatable.
“If they don’t show the card balance after every trip, can they at least show when your balance is low?” he asked.

LTA shelves plan to replace older public transport payment cards with SimplyGo by June
LTA’s drastic SimplyGo move puzzling in the absence of big-picture transport payment plans
MP Saktiandi Supaat, who chairs the Government Parliamentary Committee for Transport, previously called for a longer transition and for LTA to review the SimplyGo system so card balances can be displayed.
He told The Straits Times the crux of the matter is the availability of options, noting that there will always be commuters who are not tech-savvy, and it is not easy for them to transition to something new.
Other MPs, including Mr Yip Hon Weng, Mr Christopher de Souza and Mr Lim Biow Chuan, said they have filed parliamentary questions on SimplyGo.
In a Facebook post, Mr Lim said LTA should maintain the card-based ticketing system until it is able to persuade commuters on the benefits of switching to SimplyGo.
“I wasn’t happy at the earlier announcement by LTA,” Mr Lim wrote. “But I am very glad that the Government is receptive to feedback and has acted promptly.”


Alfrescian (Inf)

Rats chew through wiring of Hougang resident’s car, leaving it unable to start​


Ms Quek discovered that some of the wiring in her car engine had been chewed through. PHOTOS: COURTESY OF MS QUEK, SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS

Christie Chiu

JAN 30, 2024

SINGAPORE - A resident of a Hougang estate was horrified when she found her car’s engine bay covered in rat droppings and the vehicle unable to start.
The 41-year-old billing analyst, who wanted to be known only as Ms Quek, discovered later that afternoon on Jan 6 that some of the wiring in the engine had been chewed through. She had to call a towing service to take the car to a workshop for repairs.
Ms Quek, who moved to a flat at Hougang Avenue 8 in 2021, said other residents who have lived there longer told her they have had similar experiences and that the estate had been plagued with rat infestation for about five years.
“I noticed the rat issue during my first few months living in this estate. But I brushed it off since it’s a very old estate – around 35 years old – as I thought it’s common to see pests around,” she said.
However, she said she became very concerned after seeing more rats scurrying around the estate in the last three years.
“When you come back in the night, no matter where you are, you will see rats running around. They will run into the drains, across the car park and hide under cars.”
She said after pleas for help from residents, the Ang Mo Kio Town Council (AMKTC) has tried to tackle the issue, such as by placing traps and rat poison around the estate. But she added that the recent damage to her car showed that more needed to be done.

In response to queries, an AMKTC spokesman said it was aware of a rodent infestation problem in the car park at Block 628, Hougang Avenue 8.
The town council sent its pest control team to conduct an inspection of the car park for rat burrows, he said, adding: “Our pest control officer has informed us that there are no active burrows in the car park and rodent treatment will be carried out in the surrounding area.”
The town council is following up with its insurance company as well as Ms Quek on the rat-induced damage to her car for an insurance claim submission, he added.

The car towing service on Jan 6 cost Ms Quek $70, while mending the engine’s wires cost $50.
Mr Eddie Ng, the director of Choon’s Motor Works – the workshop Ms Quek enlisted – said that while the damage to her car was “not too bad” and needed only half a day to fix, future repairs could cost $2,000 to $3,000 if the rats were to attack the same spots again.

Ms Quek was unable to start her car after rats bit through its engine wires. PHOTO: COURTESY OF MS QUEK
If that happens, he added, Ms Quek would need to completely replace the engine wires and this could take up to two weeks.
Pest control experts ST spoke to said rats causing damage to vehicles is not uncommon.
Killem Pest managing director Nicole Zycinski-Singh said rats are attracted to warm spaces and may see a vehicle’s switched-off engine bay as a convenient place to nest and trim their teeth.
Bingo Pest operations director Vinz Lim said that rats actively seek materials such as cables and wires to maintain their dental health.
This is because their teeth grow continuously and constant gnawing keeps them at a manageable length for feeding, he added.
Mr Lim said: “We’ve seen rodents chew through vehicle seat belts and damage the wiring of the in-vehicle unit completely.
“With their powerful teeth and ability to bite through these materials, they can cause a short circuit and electrical hazard that may be costly to repair.”

Pest control experts said that rats damaging vehicles and the wiring of in-vehicle units is not unusual. PHOTO: COURTESY OF BINGO PEST
He added that rats also pose health threats to humans through cross-contamination and can contribute to the spread of diseases – including salmonellosis and rat-bite fever – by contaminating food and water supplies with their urine, faeces or fur.
Ms Zycinski-Singh and Mr Lim said rat infestations can be eradicated only if the root cause is addressed.
“Residents can take preventive measures, such as sealing gaps, proper waste disposal and keeping areas clean,” said Ms Zycinski-Singh. “But while individual efforts can help, an estate-wide rat issue may require coordinated action to address the root causes and implement effective pest control measures.”


Alfrescian (Inf)

S'pore woman, 89, falls on public bus & suffers head injury as driver moved off before she sat down​

The bus company apologised over the matter and said the driver has been disciplined.
Daniel Seow
January 17, 2024


An 89-year-old woman taking a public bus in Bukit Batok ended up in hospital as the driver moved off before she was seated.
Previously mobile and independent, the senior, surnamed Ho, is now in a wheelchair with a head injury from the fall.

In response to Mothership's enquiries, the bus company, Tower Transit, apologised for the incident and said they have since disciplined the bus captain involved.

The accident​

The woman's granddaughter, Geraldine Toh, told Mothership that the accident happened on the morning of Jan. 6.
Ho, who stays in Bukit Batok with Toh's uncle and aunt, was heading to Beauty World with Toh's aunt to run some errands.


A picture of Ho before the injury. Image courtesy of Toh.

At around 10:45am, the pair boarded bus 173 at the bus stop opposite the Hillbrooks condominium.
Ho boarded first.
However, as she was walking over to find a seat, the driver accelerated.
Ho was holding on to a hand rail at the time, but the movement of the bus caused her to lose her grip.
"My aunty couldn't even catch her in time," Toh said.
Ho fell on her back, with her head, shoulder and hip hitting the ground.
Her walking stick also broke in the fall.

Hospitalised for 6 days​

Toh's aunt said that following the accident, the driver didn't apologise to them, or leave his seat to offer assistance.
She only remembers that he asked if there was a need to call an ambulance.
This angered Toh's aunt, who scolded him for driving off hastily.
The pair were subsequently brought in an ambulance to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital.
Ho was diagnosed with a head injury from the fall and hospitalised for six days.
Toh acknowledged that bus drivers may feel an urgency to abide by their schedule, but said they should make it a point to ensure elderly passengers are seated before driving off.
"It's not like the old lady is going to take another 10 minutes to [find her seat], right? It's just another minute, so what difference is that going to make?" she said.
Toh also pointed out that Singapore has an ageing population, and not all seniors have children or grandchildren to accompany them on public transport.

Loss of mobility​

Toh said she is thankful that the fall didn't lead to complications such as fractures or blood clots.
However, Ho is still in pain from the accident.
She now relies on a wheelchair to get around, and has to attend weekly physiotherapy sessions until she recovers her strength.
Toh said it was frustrating to see her usually active grandmother lose her mobility so suddenly.
Prior to the accident, Ho was able to cook for the household, take bus rides by herself and even travel on family holidays.


Image courtesy of Toh.

Now, she is learning to walk again and needs assistance with daily living activities such as showering and using the toilet.
Despite the accident, Toh said her grandmother remains jovial.
In hospital, when she asked Ho about the fall, the latter laughed it off.

Bus captain's actions "falls short of our standards": Tower Transit​

In a statement on Jan. 16, a Tower Transit spokesperson apologised over the matter, and clarified that it was a "failure" on the part of the bus captain.
“We’re really sorry that Mdm Ho was injured on our bus. Our bus captain failed to wait till she was seated before moving off, causing her to lose her balance and fall. This is not in line with our training and falls short of our standards," the spokesperson said.
The company has since disciplined the bus captain involved.
Tower Transit has also put out a reminder for all staff to ensure vulnerable passengers, including seniors, people with disabilities and pregnant women, are seated or secure before moving off.
"At Mdm Ho’s age, any fall can cause significant injuries. We are glad this was not the case, and we are in touch with her family to assist with her medical claims and offer our support," the spokesperson added.
"We wish her a speedy recovery and sincerely hope that she will feel well enough to take the bus again soon.”

Hopes bus companies can also incentivise drivers​

The company has also reached out to Toh to apologise.
They also offered her a hamper and are liaising with her on the insurance claims, she said.
While glad to have some closure to the matter, Toh hopes the driver will not be fired.
Rather, she hopes that bus companies could consider incentivising good service from drivers instead.
"It would be good if they implemented some constructive measures where drivers are recognised, such as monetary bonus or extra days off for good ratings from passengers," she suggested.


Alfrescian (Inf)

Forum: Keep cemetery grounds well-maintained​

FEB 15, 2024

Every year during festive and religious occasions, many people visit the Choa Chu Kang Cemetery to pay their respects to their dead relatives.
We have been visiting the grave of my father-in-law at the Choa Chu Kang Christian Lawn cemetery since he died more than 20 years ago. Our family has also arranged for a caretaker to maintain the burial plot and trim the grass regularly.
However, not all families are similarly motivated or have the means or the time to do so.
With each passing year, more grave plots would be neglected and covered with weeds.
As the regulator of cemeteries and burial grounds, the National Environment Agency (NEA) should look into such neglected graves, and contact the families of the deceased to inquire if the remains should be exhumed and cremated.
NEA should also improve the common areas of the cemetery, which do not seem to have been regularly maintained. The grounds are overgrown with weeds or waterlogged during wet weather, making a trip to the cemetery an unpleasant experience as visitors have to make their way through wet and muddy areas.
Visitors also risk being bitten by mosquitoes and other insects, and falling ill.

The mark of a gracious society is what we do not only for the living, but also for those who have passed on, by making sure they rest in peace on grounds that are regularly maintained and tended.

Winston Chew Choon Teck


Alfrescian (Inf)


Passengers stranded at Bangkok airport for hours slams SIA as beyond incompetent​

TikTok videos capturing passengers’ dismay after a canceled SIA flight went viral, showcasing chaos at Suvarnabhumi airport. Stranded for hours and some 24hrs, they condemned SIA’s oversight, branding its customer service as ‘beyond incompetent’.


Published on 17 April 2024
By Yustika
Viral TikTok Video Sparks Criticism Against Singapore Airlines over Handling of Solitaire Member's Ticket Amid Technical Issue

SINGAPORE: A series of videos documenting the chaos experienced by passengers of a cancelled SIA flight at Suvarnabhumi airport has been making its round on TikTok.
One of the videos even had over 7 million views and several others hundreds, with many questioning and criticising the declining standards of Singapore’s national carrier.
The video showcases the profound disappointment experienced by a Solitaire PPS Club member, adding to scrutiny over Singapore Airlines’ treatment of business class passengers who were left stranded.
It is known that Solitaire is the highest tier from Singapore Airlines, offering many benefits.
The issue came to light when a TikTok user known as “Uncle T” shared videos on 5 April recounting the ordeal of passengers aboard SIA flight SQ709 from Bangkok to Singapore on 4 April 2024.

On 4 April, the Airbus A350-900 operating flight SQ709 from Bangkok to Singapore experienced a technical problem shortly after pushing back from the gate at 3:21 pm (Bangkok time).
As a result, all 245 passengers on board had to disembark the aircraft while ground engineers worked to resolve the issue.
Unfortunately, the technical problem was significant enough to require spare parts and additional time for repairs.

Consequently, passengers were rebooked onto subsequent flights departing from Bangkok to Singapore.
According to Uncle T’s posts, it was communicated that business class passengers would receive priority for transfer to the next available flight at 5:30 pm, ensuring timely connections in Singapore.
However, Singapore Airlines staff deviated from this plan, prioritizing the transfer of economy-class passengers until the plane reached full capacity.
Uncle T’s caption on the video stated, “All business class passengers missed out and were left stranded in Bangkok. Some had to wait 24 hours until the next available flight to their destination.”
In one of his videos, a frustrated passenger recounted that a boarding gate manager assured him a seat after seeing his Solitaire PPS status.
Despite agreeing to downgrade to economy class, the passenger expressed disappointment that the manager neglected the needs of business class passengers. He alleged that the manager issued replacement tickets for economy class instead.
Furthermore, the passenger accused the manager of lying, claiming that the manager falsely stated that the affected passengers had purchased new tickets. When confronted, the manager allegedly told him that some passengers were allocated to jump seats, which he doubted was permissible.
“I’ve been a Solitaire club member for 30 years, and you treated people like that.”

“You are making me very upset because of this,” said the male passenger.

Disgruntled passengers slam SIA’s customer service as ‘beyond incompetent’​

In another video, a female passenger aired her grievances, criticizing Singapore Airlines’ abysmal customer service as ‘beyond incompetent.’
“This is poor customer service, it’s beyond poor. I’m not expecting this from Singapore honestly. If it were another airline, I can understand. ”

In another video, a female passenger, evidently needing to catch a flight for a transfer to Melbourne at 6 p.m., voiced her frustration to a Singapore Airlines duty manager.
She requested accommodation and a change of flight ticket. However, she recounted that instead of receiving assistance, one of the staff members did nothing but suggest submitting feedback on the Singapore Airlines website. No practical flight solutions were offered or considered.

Netizens express discontent with Singapore Airlines’ handling of Solitaire members’ stranding​

In response to the TikTok video, a user commented, “Hi. I worked as CSR for Singapore Airlines, and PPS is one of the highest tiers/status we offer for passengers who are frequent flyers, and they also have a lot of advantages. They are VIP passengers.”

However, certain netizens criticized Singapore Airlines’ handling of the situation.
One user expressed disappointment in the staff’s management of the incident, hoping for a fair resolution from Singapore Airlines.

They noted that with experienced staff, such a situation could have been avoided.

Another user mentioned that Singapore Airlines management could do better in handling the situation.

Additionally, another user stated that Singapore Airlines owed the man a proper explanation, highlighting that the staff had promised him something that Singapore Airlines did not deliver, causing frustration.

Another user expressed that anyone would be upset if promised otherwise and should have been accommodated for the inconvenience, even suggesting a one-night stay if necessary.

Netizens validate the man’s frustration​

Several comments emphasized the validity of the man’s frustration, citing his 30 years of Solitaire membership status.
Another user stressed that the staff should respect the man, noting that if he spends S$50k a year to fly business class and is treated poorly, he would be upset too.

Similarly, another user remarked that they would also be upset if they paid for business class and saw others who paid cheaper tickets getting on the next flight while they were stranded for 24 hours.

Lastly, one user argued that this is not about entitlement but loyalty, stating that Singapore Airlines should provide the man with the benefits and service promised.


Singapore Airlines addresses passenger stranding with compensation and apology​

According to Singaporean media outlet Mothership, Singapore Airlines has confirmed that all 38 affected passengers from flight SQ709, which experienced a recent incident resulting in stranding, were compensated on 4 April.
Beyond mere compensation, Singapore Airlines said they took steps to ensure that affected passengers were successfully rebooked onto subsequent flights.
Additionally, complimentary refreshments, meals, and hotel accommodations were provided where necessary to mitigate inconvenience.
Recognizing the need for improvement, Singapore Airlines stated that they are currently “reviewing [their] internal processes” and enhancing their “customer handling procedures” to prevent similar occurrences in the future.
Expressing gratitude for the patience and understanding of affected customers, Singapore Airlines issued a sincere apology to all passengers impacted by the disruption to flight SQ709.
However, the SIA statement appears to have overlooked addressing the ordeal faced by affected passengers who were stranded at Suvarnabhumi airport for 24 hours until they were assigned to the next available flight.
The statement also failed to address passengers’ allegations regarding why economy passengers were given priority to board the 5:30 p.m. SQ711 flight on that day, while arrangements for boarding business class passengers were not made.


Alfrescian (Inf)

LTA investigating after e-bikes and e-scooters seen racing; will step up enforcement​


In a video on Facebook page SG Road Vigilante, several PABs and e-scooters can be seen racing at high speeds. PHOTOS: SCREENGRABS FROM SG ROAD VIGILANTE - SGRV/FACEBOOK

Wallace Woon

APR 19, 2024, 07:06 PM

SINGAPORE - The Land Transport Authority (LTA) is investigating several incidents involving several power-assisted bicycles (PABs) and e-scooters.
In a video shared on Facebook page SG Road Vigilante, several PABs and e-scooters can be seen racing at high speeds in several locations, including Tanah Merah Coast Road and a park connector running alongside the Bay East Garden next to Marina Bay.
One clip shows a rider appearing to adopt a Superman position – lying face down on the device with his legs straightened and pointed backwards.
The video’s caption claims that the e-bikes – which PABs are commonly known as – and e-scooters have been illegally modified and are travelling at speeds in excess of 140kmh.
Responding to queries from The Straits Times, LTA said it has also stepped up enforcement efforts in these locations and will take individuals to task if they are found to be violating regulations.
While e-bikes are allowed to travel on cycling paths and on the road, e-scooters can be used only on the former. Neither of these devices can be used on a footpath.
A speed limit of 25kmh is also imposed on cycling paths.

Both e-bikes and e-scooters have to be registered with LTA and be operated by a person at least 16 years of age, if unsupervised.
E-scooters are designated as personal mobility devices, which also include skateboards, kick scooters, motorised skateboards and hoverboards.
Riders must also pass online theory tests before being allowed to use e-bikes or e-scooters.

E-bikes are also required to meet technical specifications such as a weight limit of 20kg, a maximum continuous power output of 250 watts, a maximum assisted speed of 25kmh and certification to the EN15194 standard.
E-scooters have to be certified to the UL2272 fire safety standard.
A check by ST on second-hand sales platform Carousell and messaging app Telegram showed multiple listings of e-bikes being advertised for sale with features such as throttles and motors rated at 1,000 watts. Similar motors – ranging in power from 1,500 watts to 3,000 watts – were advertised separately on the platforms.
Sellers of e-bikes whom ST spoke to said these features are in clear violation of LTA’s regulations.
An employee of e-bike vendor Warehouse SG, who identified himself only as Mr Chia, told ST that the motors used to propel e-bikes should be activated only when the rider starts pedalling, and should cut off when the e-bike reaches 25kmh.
He said: “The motors on the e-bikes that we sell have a maximum power of 250 watts. While it is possible for someone riding an e-bike to travel faster than 25kmh (on these bikes), they should not be doing so with the help of the motor.
“Throttles mounted on the handlebar similar to those on motorbikes are also not permitted to be installed on e-bikes as such.”

Mr Chia said that while Warehouse SG does provide repair and upgrading services for e-bikes, it would do so only if the modifications fall within LTA’s guidelines.
He said: “Sometimes a rider wants to install a bigger battery so that they can keep riding longer distances, as is the case for food delivery riders, but these batteries also need to be approved by LTA.
“The customers who ask for motors exceeding LTA’s regulations might want to travel faster so they can complete more deliveries or because they feel that it is easier to manoeuvre through traffic on the road.”
Identifying herself only as Ms Lee, a sales representative from e-bike brand Jimove said she would often advise customers against purchasing illegally modified e-bikes, or modifying e-bikes purchased from her company.
“The riders who modify their e-bikes to go faster tend to be the ones who work at night, when the roads or paths are not as busy. Their vehicles can travel at 40kmh to 50kmh, which can be very dangerous for the riders and pedestrians,” she said.
Under the Active Mobility Act, a person found guilty of illegally modifying an e-bike such that it does not comply with LTA’s regulations can be jailed up to two years, fined up to $20,000 or both for the first offence. Subsequent offences may be punishable by a jail term of up to four years, a fine of up to $40,000 or both.
Riding a non-compliant e-bike on public paths may land a person in jail for up to six months, a fine of up to $10,000, or both for the first offence, with subsequent offences punishable with up to 12 months’ imprisonment, a fine of up to $20,000 or both.
A person found guilty of dangerous or reckless riding on public paths may be jailed for up to 12 months, fined up to $10,000 or both.


Alfrescian (Inf)

Authorities investigating illegal sale of diesel at heavy vehicle carpark near Choa Chu Kang​


A Malaysian truck can be seen in a video transferring diesel to two containers housed in a lorry. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM SG ROAD VIGILANTE - SGRV

Aqil Hamzah

APR 19, 2024

SINGAPORE – The authorities are investigating an alleged illegal sale of diesel at a heavy vehicle carpark near Choa Chu Kang.
The alleged transaction was caught on video, which was shared on the SG Road Vigilante Facebook page on April 15 and subsequently circulated on social media.
In the video, a Malaysian truck can be seen transferring diesel to two containers housed in a lorry. The incident allegedly took place at Gali Batu heavy vehicle carpark, near Choa Chu Kang.
It is unclear if the incident took place on the same day that the video was shared, with the time stamp on the dashcam footage showing Nov 1, 2023, as the date of the recording.
When contacted by The Straits Times, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said it is aware of the video clip and is investigating the incident as a fire safety violation.
Citing the Fire Safety Act, an SCDF spokesperson said it is an offence to dispense petroleum and flammable materials at unlicensed premises. Those convicted can be fined up to $10,000, jailed for up to six months, or both.
Meanwhile, a Singapore Customs spokesperson told ST that it “closely monitors and enforces against any illegal diversion of duty-exempted diesel”.

Although diesel in the fuel tank of a vehicle entering Singapore is exempted from excise duty and goods and services tax (GST), this is under the condition that the diesel is used only for the vehicle’s movement.
The diesel should not be removed from the fuel tank for other purposes.
The spokesperson stressed that the transfer, purchase, sale, storage, possession or any dealings with duty-exempted diesel from the fuel tanks of vehicles are offences under both the Customs Act and GST Act.
Those found to have flouted the rules can be fined up to 20 times the amount of duty and GST evaded, jailed up to two years, or both.
In March 2023, ST reported that the illegal sale of diesel at heavy vehicle parking spaces was taking place in areas such as Tampines and Pioneer.
The fuel sold through such operators can be as much as 40 per cent cheaper than what major fuel suppliers charge, with the current price for diesel at about $2.59 per litre, according to pump price tracker Fuel Kaki.
Although cheaper, the source of the fuel is unknown. While some may come from major suppliers like Caltex and ExxonMobil, they may also come from other unknown sources and be of unknown quality.


Alfrescian (Inf)

Nine-month wait to see eye specialist​

April 13, 2024

Recently, I went to a polyclinic to consult a doctor over some floaters in my eye.

The doctor suggested I see a specialist, and the polyclinic referred me to the Singapore National Eye Centre.

The earliest appointment is in January 2025, a nine-month wait. I am not sure if this is the normal waiting time or if there is a shortage of eye doctors at the centre.

Perhaps the eye centre can outsource some of its workload to the private sector to reduce the long waiting time.

Lim Soon Heng


Alfrescian (Inf)

Forum: Defer deployment of ERP 2.0 on-board unit till concerns are addressed​

APR 27, 2024

The ERP 2.0 has had much bad press even before it was launched, when “leaked” photos of the supposed prototypes appeared on social media.
The Straits Times article by senior transport correspondent Lee Nian Tjoe (Review: On-board unit for ERP 2.0 – the good, the bad and the ugly, April 19) raised some pertinent points.
I want to highlight a couple of relevant issues raised by the writer. The new on-board unit required to be installed in awkward locations makes access to the stored-value card inconvenient. Older motorists with less flexibility may not be able to bend over to access the stored-value card. This would be an issue at carparks which still require the driver to tap the stored-value card.
I also agree that the clunky touchscreen taking up space near the driver’s line of sight is a safety issue. Drivers can opt not to install the touchscreen but this creates some inconvenience, with the driver having to pair his smartphone with the unit.
What is most concerning to drivers is the safety issue. The Land Transport Authority (LTA) should be promoting road safety, not introducing installation of on-board devices that have safety implications.
As the authorities have no immediate plans to introduce mileage-based road pricing, can the deployment of ERP 2.0 be halted and delayed? With advancements in technology, it should be possible to further miniaturise ERP 2.0.
Can LTA consider deferring the wide deployment of ERP 2.0 until it has found the solution to further miniaturise the devices and address the concerns of motorists?

Lee Jee Cheng


Alfrescian (Inf)

Forum: Not easy to file bills from SingHealth’s Health Buddy app​

MAY 01, 2024

I am writing in to share my suggestions for improving SingHealth’s Health Buddy mobile application.
When a Health Buddy user saves an online bill on his mobile phone, the document is saved according to a generic file name format that bears no relation to the source of the bill.
For example, this is the file name of a bill I incurred after visiting the National Dental Centre: Test_Result_PDF_
This file name format makes it impossible for me to track all the bills saved without opening them.
Perhaps Health Buddy application designers can consider saving documents using a file format that has an abbreviation for the agency, the consultation date, the last four characters of the NRIC and optional system control characters.
Hence, instead of the cryptic file name, my online bill would be named NDC_20240428_123Z_A9.pdf
Having the reference to the NRIC can help the authorities track the patient whom the bill is for, especially for those who rely on others to submit inquiries on their behalf.

Also, for families that file online bills centrally, like in a family folder on a PC, having the NRIC reference helps to segregate the documents among family members.

Chern Boon Seng


Alfrescian (Inf)

Motorists can opt to install next-gen ERP processing units at driver’s footwell: LTA​


The LTA has made changes to address feedback after the units were installed in over 18,000 vehicles. PHOTOS: LTA

Ang Qing

MAY 02

SINGAPORE - Motorists can opt to install the processing unit for their next-generation Electronic Road Pricing system (ERP 2.0) on-board equipment in the driver’s footwell, if their vehicle allows it, said the Land Transport Authority (LTA).
In a statement on May 2, LTA said vehicle owners can choose to install the unit in either the driver’s or the front passenger’s footwell, but they can opt for the units to be installed in other parts of their vehicle if these locations are not feasible, subject to safety considerations and technical feasibility.
The change is among improvements to the ERP on-board unit’s features and installation process rolled out by LTA to address feedback after the units were installed in more than 18,000 vehicles.
The on-board unit has three components: the processing unit, an antenna and a touchscreen display.
LTA’s statement came in the wake of complaints in recent weeks from motorists who said the location of the ERP 2.0 processing unit at the passenger’s side of the vehicle made it difficult and unsafe for drivers who had to reach for cards lodged there while they are in the driver’s seat.
LTA said it has also introduced a button on the unit’s touchscreen display since April 19 following safety concerns raised by motorists.
The feature allows drivers to deactivate their payment cards by pressing a button on the unit’s touchscreen display. This allows them to use complimentary parking tickets at carpark gantries without removing their payment cards from the processing unit.

Should drivers forget to reactivate the card after leaving the carpark, it will not affect their ERP payments as the correct amount will still be deducted from the card balance when their vehicles reach an active ERP gantry, it added.
Payment firm Nets will also give a free Motoring Card to all motorists with the new ERP 2.0 unit, so drivers can tap this card to enter or exit some private car parks without the Electronic Parking System, instead of reaching for payment cards lodged in their processing unit.
Nets will announce more details in due course, said LTA.

At present, most private carparks and all public carparks use the Electronic Parking System.
The installation exercise for the new on-board units began with fleet vehicles, such as buses and motorcycles, in November 2023.
New vehicles registered since May 1 would have been pre-fitted with equipment for the next-generation ERP system.
The authority said it has instructed all motor dealers and importers to consult buyers of new vehicles on where they would like the processing unit positioned, and whether they want to install the touchscreen display.
Said LTA: “For owners who choose not to install the touchscreen display, they will still receive a unit of the touchscreen display, so that they have the option to install the display if they change their minds subsequently.”

With the deactivation function and the free Nets card, the only other time motorists may have to remove their payment card would be to manually top up the cards.
LTA said it will deploy ambassadors to vehicle showrooms and workshops to guide motorists through their options, which include teaching them how to automatically top up their payment cards.
It said: “With auto top-up, a vehicle owner does not need to remove his card from the processing unit when the balance is low, as the top-up will be done automatically.”
LTA said it has received positive feedback from early adopters who appreciated the safety notifications from the on-board units on school zones, silver zones and bus-lane hours, as these have helped raise awareness of their surroundings and enhance road safety.
The authority said it is working with the Traffic Police to expand the safety notifications to include more speed-camera zones, including red-light cameras and mobile cameras, to remind motorists to keep within the speed limits.

These extra features will be pushed out to motorists wirelessly after the units are installed, so motorists will not have to take their vehicles back to workshops for the upgrades, said LTA.
It added: “We appreciate the early adopters who stepped forward and provided useful feedback to improve our design and installation process.
“LTA has taken on board the learning points and suggestions for improvement, and made changes to enhance user choice, convenience and safety.”
The next-generation ERP system is based on satellite navigation technology and replaces the outgoing 25-year-old system. When it is fully rolled out, there will be no need to rely on physical gantries to run the ERP system.