Singapore—Traffic was unusually heavy over the weekend, with a number of activities scheduled to take place in different parts of Singapore, including the Standard Chartered Marathon and the U2 concert, with many Singaporeans also taking advantage of Black Friday sales to do holiday shopping. The rain did not help with the traffic either.
Buses experienced lengthy delays, with some Tower Transit buses running between 50 minutes to two hours behind schedule on the very crowded Orchard Road. SBS Transit, on the other hand, tweeted late on Saturday night that after four hours, its service had returned to normal.
Netizens seemed to think however that the biggest contributor to the traffic was the Standard Chartered Marathon, which this year saw over 50,000 participants. On the marathon’s Facebook’s page, commenters did not hold back their ire, calling the race “a public enemy” and calling for the officials who approved of the race to be fired ASAP. Not even the F1 race, said one, caused as many road closures.
“Your run this year is totally disaster to millions of Singaporeans and tourists. Too many road closure that caused the whole damn CBD come (sic) to a standstill. Guests late (sic) for wedding dinner, tourists stuck in the jam inside and outside of CBD, tourists late for their flights, etc.
This road closure is more than F1 race (sic). Please organize your run at other part (sic) of Singapore next time where lesser traffic like Tuas and Lim Chu Kang. This stand Chart run has become a public enemy n bring this bank a (sic) bad publicity. LTA or Traffic police officers who approved this year (sic) road closure should be terminated with immediate effect,” wrote netizen Martin Lee.
A particularly incensed netizen named Selwyn Koh wrote a post “dedicated to the organisers of the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2019” that went viral, getting shared more than 3,000 times.
Mr Koh, citing the fact that major roads had been closed from 1:00 pm on Saturday, November 30, until 1:30 am the following morning, called it “a decision that reeks of nothing but stupidity and selfishness.”
He went on to say that at this time of the year, with several events ongoing throughout the country, people rushing with “several luggages in tow” to make their flights, “weddings in every ballroom in every hotel all over the island” made taking the MRT an improbability for many.
“You come out to say that the race area is well-served by the MRT, and commuters are encouraged to take the MRT as their primary mode of transport. Any idiot would know that not everyone is able to hop on the MRT just like that, especially on a Saturday evening where the MRT is already packed even without the road closures.”
The irate netizen went on to call the traffic jam “the worst jam of the decade” as it brought “traffic islandwide to a complete standstill, no thanks to your road closures on a Saturday evening, no less.”
He then went on to give the organisers a piece of his mind: “Simply put, you cannot simply close roads to make way for a run on a Saturday evening, because it affects a lot of people – many of whom are working.”
Mr Koh gave examples of those who suffered because of the terrible Saturday night congestion.
“To my friend who spent close to 4 full hours in a jam travelling from Sentosa to Fullerton Hotel, I feel for you. To my other friend who had to wheel her harp down Nicoll Highway while rushing for a performance, I feel for you. To another friend who was stuck in a taxi with a full bladder only to reach her destination with a $55 fare, I feel for you. To the lady in a lovely gown who was a wedding organiser at a wedding I attended last evening and had no choice but to park somewhere else while making a dash to the hotel with bags of wedding photo albums in tow, I feel for you. To all my friends who were affected by the road closures with every other person posting on social media, I really do feel for you. I was caught in the dreaded jam too.”
He ended his post with an appeal to the organisers to never hold a Saturday night race again, writing, “Have some compassion, even if you don’t have a brain.”
Many commenters agreed with Mr Koh wholeheartedly.