There was a time (back in the good old 90s) when train breakdowns were met with a big, fat "WHAT? No way... Really?"
But this is not an article about nostalgia.
The frequent number of train breakdowns, with the latest one happening like just YESTERDAY (July 7), have forced our hands. And we cannot really depend on anyone else (looking at you SMRT).
Here's a survival guide on how to make your way to the destination with your sanity intact.
If you feel you cannot take another train breakdown, read on. You might just survive.
1. Unplug from your devices
We know. You will probably feel like this when you unplug from your precious devices or when your scant data runs out.
But in times of a breakdown, which unfortunately is all too often these days, you probably need to do it the painful way. Because you'd need to open up your senses to these signs. All you have to do is look up.
These will probably save you a lot of time and hassle. And you can plan for an alternative route.
If signboards are not your thing or if they generally just confuse you further/not working/trolling, please listen to the train announcements. Did you know that the first announcement will go to the commuters stuck in the affected trains before the train stations? Stop playing Summoners War for a minute, will you?
But if announcements fail you...
2. Keep calm and believe in buses
What usually happens when a train breakdowns? The buses show who's boss - at least for the next couple of hours - with free bus services and bus bridging services shoring up stranded commuters. What's the difference? Free bus services mean that you can take any bus for free. The latter service will ferry commuters between affected stations.
Remember that a bus can only ferry 120 pax tops and when a train breaks down, some 1,600 commuters will flood the station. So you probably have to wait for your turn. It's just math, baby.
Confused? Here's a better picture.
So please grow some patience like this SMRT poster suggest:
— FunkShin (@funkshin) July 7, 2015
Buses are also under the mercy of traffic conditions and are not idling the entire day waiting for a train to breakdown. And mainly because math.
3. Understand not all bus drivers are taxi drivers
Which means that they might not be familiar driving at a new route.
Ever have this feeling when you are driving at a new place?
Being the digital natives that we are, it wouldn't hurt to whip out Google/Street Directory map apps and help the poor driver out.
4. Don't be paralysed by inactivity
Singaporeans being Singaporeans, we are usually paralysed by inactivity when we see this:
Probably worsen by all the devices we are hooked to, we are quick to depend on Google to solve our queries. But sadly, Google cannot solve a breakdown. So, don't just monkey see monkey do, ask around for directions and once you got the answers, share the information so you can...
5. Help a brother out.
Or sister. Or any other person. Just help a stranded comrade out! Think of it as building up good karma because we all want karma on our side.
Check out what these brothers did:
6. Face the cold hard truth
It sucks, it's painful, but it's true: The Singapore train network probably needs at least three years to get back on its feet. Foundations must be relaid and trust must be earned back. The fare hikes over the years aren't helping though. Just sayin'.
7. Know your MRT lines
This is crucial, so listen up. If, let's say, but touch wood, there's another train breakdown on the North-South and East-West Line, remember that the other lines are still working fine. So if you are at Dhoby Ghaut, you can hop on the Circle or North-East Line for an alternate route.
And if your leg gets stuck on the North-East Line or Downtown Line, please do not call SMRT. Because it's really not their problem and besides, they have *cough* to handle their breakdowns. You should just call SBS Transit. Anything other than the two mentioned train lines, please feel free to air your grievances with SMRT.
Top photo by Christine Low