In 2016, the average commuting time in Singapore was more than 50 minutes. It shortened to 45 minutes as of 2019. Only a 5-minute difference was made in three years. How is this affecting the work-life balance of Singaporeans?
Forty-five minutes of lining up, squeezing into crowded transport, and walking can be grueling. It’ll tire you out before you even arrive at your workplace. Plus, public transport has health hazards. Some rapidly developing Asian countries, including Singapore, Japan, and Hong Kong, are facing critical street-level air pollution due to the rising number of motorized vehicles on the streets.
Thankfully, the future is looking bright for Singaporean commuters. By 2040, they may only spend 20 minutes reaching neighborhood centers. And commuting to industrial areas and central business districts may no longer exceed 45 minutes.
What’s in Store for Singaporean Commuters?
Train riders can expect great things from SMRT, Singapore’s leading public transport operator. They’re currently expanding their network to reduce the travel times of their passengers. Commuters from Yew Tee, Tengah, Loyang, and Woodlands North can benefit from four new train lines: the Thomson-East Coast Line, Jurong Region Line, Cross Island Line, and the Downtown Line extension. The Land Transport Authority (LTA) is also analyzing the feasibility of another possible new MRT line, which will cut through Sembawang, Serangoon North, Whampoa, and Kallang.
Bus lines will be improved as well. To allow buses to move faster, the LTA will implement more Transit Priority Corridors (TPCs). These can be bus-only roads, new bus lanes, or signal-priority buses.
Persons with disabilities (PWDs) aren’t forgotten. They can also look forward to an easier commuting experience in 2040. Currently, all bus and train stations in Singapore are equipped with ramps or lifts. The elderly and wheelchair-bound also have their own barrier-free access routes. More of this assistive equipment will be seen in the coming years. Furthermore, buses will include audio announcements to assist visually impaired passengers.
Ways to Make Daily Commutes Less Stressful
In the meantime, as you anticipate the developments in public transit, take note of these tips to make your daily commutes a breeze:
Stretch Your Legs
If you’ve been sitting too long on a train, stretch your legs to get your blood flowing. Put your feet flat on the floor, about hip-width apart, then raise them, flexing your soles. It will contract the muscles in your calves. Hold the stretch for about eight to ten seconds. Repeat eight to 12 times if it’s possible. However, if the train is too crowded, only do the stretch once most passengers have alighted. Your leg can become a trip hazard if you’re not considerate of other commuters.
Plan Your Day in Advance
Commuting, even if you do it every day, can still be unpredictable. To avoid feeling anxious during terrible traffic or delay, plan your day. Prepare your work bag, packed lunch or snacks, and other related stuff on the night before. Planning your outfit will help as well. Get the dishes you normally use ready in the kitchen, like your coffee cup and breakfast essentials. Advanced preparation will reduce the tasks that occupy your mornings and eat up your time. As a result, you can start your commute earlier and arrive at work on time, no matter what happens on your way.
Eat Stress-reducing Food
Certain snacks can help lower your stress. A 2010 study has found that munching on walnuts can decrease stress-related blood pressure. So include that in your breakfast menu and bring some to your commute. Red bell peppers and oranges are found to have the same benefits. Consider them your commuting nourishment essentials; they’ll improve your overall health, too.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep deprivation is a major stress factor. You’re more likely to feel cranky if you lack sleep, regardless if you ate enough or all your morning essentials are prepared in advance. So don’t underestimate the importance of sleep. In fact, it’s as important for your health as food and water.
If you’re often late, you’re probably leaving the house too late as well. Try to adjust your alarm and wake up a little earlier, or cut down your snoozes. If you leave early, you might be able to clock out at work earlier, too. Not to mention dodge the rush hour.
Luckily, Singapore’s public transit is one of the most efficient in the world. Even if your commutes are long, it’s still far more comfortable than the commutes in other places. So don’t take your amazing public transit for granted. And by that, we mean not abusing its punctuality. In many cases, arriving at work early is better than arriving just in time. However, while you hasten your commute, remember to enjoy it as well. It’s the best way to lower your daily commuting stress.