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  The Straits Times Forum Online 18 Apr 06
Queue-jumping at ferry terminal takes away fun of visiting Pulau Ubin

Everyday there are hundreds, and on weekends thousands of Singaporeans and tourists who make a beeline for Pulau Ubin to escape the hectic pace of urban living. They go there for hiking, camping and cycling. The seafood restaurants and beaches are added attractions.

Last Saturday my friend and I made our way to Changi Village hoping to catch a bumboat to this idyllic island. At the Changi Village ferry terminal we met two foreign tourists who told us they had waited for 10 minutes.

The notice reads: 'Passengers to Ubin are requested to liaise with the bumboat operators. Fee to Ubin: $2. No ticket will be issued.'

Five minutes later, the operator, an old man, told us he would not move unless there were 12 passengers. Patiently we waited and 10 minutes later a group of 12 secondary school children came. The leader told the operator that the group must travel together, so the students left first although they came after us.

We were told to wait for the next ferry. We waited for another 10 minutes for the next eight passengers to arrive before the bumboat operator agreed to move. The two foreign tourists were very disappointed that queue-jumping was allowed.

I would like to suggest to the terminal's management to overhaul its present system by installing a ticketing machine. The operators should go by the queue number and no queue jumping should be entertained. On receipt of tickets, the operators could go to the terminal's management to exchange them for cash.

In this way the management could also track the monthly and annual income of the operators. I am sure the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore would be happy to plug a loophole on taxes as no tickets are issued now.

Also, the present injustice of queue-jumping and the agony of waiting could be eliminated.

Heng Cho Choon

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