Three horrible transport systems in the world

If you think Singapore’s transport system is bad, you probably won’t survive in these countries.

Raphael Francisco
Raphael Francisco

Published: 26 April 2016, 2:15 PM

Last evening, train services along three MRT lines and the Bukit Panjang LRT were disrupted during peak hour, affecting more than 30 stations. The disruptions were caused by a “power trip”, which caused blackouts and stalled trains in some stations.

The last major breakdown happened on July 8, 2015 when both the North South Line and the East West Line broke down, affecting more than 250,000 commuters. The incident, the biggest breakdown in Singapore history thus far, resulted in a national uproar.

While these breakdowns usually occur once a month, other countries have it worse on a daily basis.

Here are three horrible transport systems in the world that should make Singaporeans feel a little lucky.

1. Mumbai, India

The most populated city in India has a population of 20.7 million; almost four times that of Singapore. With a very serious overpopulation problem due to social and environmental issues, Mumbai’s transport system is also in chaos.

Local trains are crammed with 7.5 million commuters on a daily basis, to the point that some passengers actually clutch onto the train doors to score a ride. Can you imagine how breathless those rides must be?

It comes as no surprise that Mumbai’s suburban railways experience over 35,000 deaths per year.

2. Metro Manila, Philippines

The national capital region of the Philippines boasts one of the worst traffic jams in Southeast Asia. With a dense population of over 11 million, one can only expect the sheer number of vehicles travelling on a daily basis.

Traffic jams are an extremely horrifying experience, with some lasting as long as four hours especially during peak hours. It can be so bad that some taxi drivers reject passengers who want to travel to jam-packed areas.


If you think waiting for a train in Singapore takes ages, their frequency might turn you off. On a good working day with 14 trains running, waiting for them can take as long as 35 minutes.

On a very bad day with only eight working trains, queues would be as long as three kilometres, stretching from one station to another. If that is not bad enough, train rides either stall for hours or even run with their doors open.

Are you feeling lucky yet?

3. National highway, China

If the word “carpocalypse” could be created in the English dictionary, this major traffic jam would totally describe it. Hundreds of millions of people were stranded at the end of a Golden Week, a week-long national holiday in China, after a checkpoint downsized 50 lanes to 20.

In 2012, free road travel was granted by the government during the same national holiday, turning 24 motorways in 16 provinces into an insane gridlock. In total, 85 million people were stuck in their cars for days.

Those stuck in the great wall of traffic turned to playing cards to kill the time, and nearby vendors attempted to make some money by selling food and water at “premium” prices.


Could we survive a poor transport system like the three mentioned above? We certainly should feel lucky that our breakdowns are not as horrifying as compared to these!

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