Singapore has one of the world’s most amazing public transport system. Some of the key characteristics of Singapore public transport using QCD methodology are:
1) Affordability – Commuters pay up to a maximum of S$2.10 for a one way journey over a 2.5 hour time period up to 5 different transportation transit methods
2) Quality – All public transport are air-conditioned and it is quite easy to find seats base on time and route
3) Reliability – Buses typically serve the final mile and one of the shortcomings to buses are long waiting time. This problem is minimized via the distance-based fare which promote aggregation of routes to a common destination. There maybe occasional news of MRT breakdowns. I have not encountered any yet, so I’m keeping my fingers cross on it.
Previously, I changed my job from central to somewhere at the west side of Singapore. The purpose of this post depicts on how I analyze and identify the shortest time to travel from my house to my workplace.
Measure and Analyze
At a start, let’s take a look at a reliable shortest path first methodology computed by google map. Below is the original transport timing from marine parade to orchard road.
I collected a few data points during the period of September as benchmark against my new workplace. This shows mean bus journey time at 48mins. The google map computed walking and public transport timing is quite close to the actual of 48mins. (as I’m travelling during the peak hour). The range is 42mins to 54mins.
As I move to my new workplace, the computed transportation timing is shown below. The bus-MRT -bus route will take me 97mins.
The transportation time is approximately double that of what I used to spend. This is a good opportunity to see how the time can be better well-spent by combining lean techniques of systematic waste elimination and six sigma control charts methodology.
Let’s begin to analyze the variability of the journey time over the last 2 weeks. Below are the data samples. I do not have to record the timing manually. I got all of the data from ezlink website – copy it into excel and I did analysis on the timing from start to end. It shows the mean timing to be 86mins. Occasionally with longer waiting time, the journey time shoot up to 91mins.
You may wonder why this is important. It provides me with a good gauge on what time I will be able to catch my company shuttle bus (which departs every 10mins from Lakeside MRT) and the time I will arrive at my company using statistical theory. Thus I am able to pace according and not hurry. The variation is quite minimal with a range of 82mins to 91mins.
Nevertheless, I decided to analyze whether could these variation be minimized. Could these be due to natural variation or assignable variation? Is there a difference between waiting for buses + buses journey time VS waiting for train + train journey time.
Buses (Journey + Waiting + Walking) have a mean of 34mins, and a range of 30mins to 38mins.
Train (Journey + Waiting + Walking) has a mean of 53mins, and a range of 50mins to 56mins.
This clearly show the greater reliability of train than buses.
Lean – Systematic Waste Elimination
Let’s begin by looking into detail the quality of the time spent while travelling. I remembered during my junior college years, our college principal shared with us the quality of our time spent is more important than the quantity of time spent. I still remembered after 17 years his words of advice. At the time I lived 60mins away from college and have to spent quite a bit of time travelling from my home to school and back. I have classmates who lived just 2mins across the road. This means I lost 2 hours of my time each day to study just because of transportation.
What I did back then was to discipline myself to make good use of the time on transportation each morning by revising what I have learnt the previous day. 2 years past and the results showed. I made it to the top 5 students list in the junior college (out of 900 pupils) and was awarded a number of scholarships.
This is a good opportunity for myself to apply the same techniques.
It has been very difficult to read books or look at mobile phone on buses due to the frequent vibration. At the end of each journey, I will get headache. Even during my school days, I will briefly glance at my notes and not read when it is moving.
As such, let’s take the actual time spent on buses to be non-value-added.
There are the other time spent walking to bus stops or transit points. There are also time spent waiting for buses or trains. I usually will spend these times looking at emails, facebook, linkedin and so on. While walking, I also regard it to be a good form of exercise. (exercise is one of my last priority as I regarded exercising to be a waste of time).
Lastly, the time I spent on train can be fully utilized by reading books, viewing videos and so on. These are the real value-added time. I breakdown the mean (average) spent on each activity according and plot it onto the chart below.
It clearly shows the non-value added time has been reduced by 50% as I moved from my old workplace to my new workplace. And I now lead a very discipline lifestyle of reading for 45mins each morning. In the past, I used to borrow books from the library and the books will be sitting there until the last few days. Now I will read at least 1 – 2 chapters of a book every morning. This is a very precious personal time.
Though I have a car driving license and a motorbike riding license, I had been very reluctant to purchase any of them as that will mean I have to spend 30mins-40mins each morning driving or riding. Previously when I used my company bike to ride around, I barely have any time to respond to messages and it was quite exhausting as I have to focus on the road.
By taking Singapore public transport, and analyzing the variation between the different transport methods, and the time spent on the different activities, the quality of time can be improved further.
This is one method which I would like to share with fellow readers on how they can use their time more effectively.