TRAINSPOTTING – 8 other influential people in a train carriage near you

We’ve seen (former) Transport Ministers like Lui Tuck Yew rising up to the challenge and taking the train or bus (when there’s a need for it), and most recently, an IG post of (new) Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan on the right track.




Is hopping onto a train every now and then enough to get a real picture of what the public transport system is like? Perhaps not, but hey, it’s a valiant start.

To put the rails on this right track, we’ve put together a list of people Minister Khaw can rub shoulders and share pointers with, and get tips from.


1. Haruka Nishimatsu, Japan Airlines CEO

“If management is distant, up in the clouds, people just wait for orders. I want my people to think for themselves…” – Haruka Nishimatsu, Japan Airlines CEO

He’s no stranger to the public eye having been known to slash his own salary rather than get rid of staff or affect theirs. He takes the bus to work and wears inexpensive clothing. A true leader by example who says: “If management is distant, up in the clouds, people just wait for orders. I want my people to think for themselves…”


2. Mr Lim Siong Guan, Group President of GIC


Mr Lim Siong Guan is the group president of Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC, but he rides the MRT to work. According to a report in The Straits Times, he alights at Raffles Place, then walks about 20 minutes to GIC’s office in Robinson Road for the exercise.


3. Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter

Jack Dorsey, interim CEO of Twitter and CEO of Square, goes for a walk on the first day of the annual Allen and Co. media conference in Sun Valley, Idaho July 8, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Blake - RTX1JML5

His reason for taking the bus to work on a daily basis is simple and straight to the point – “to get closer to the ground.” Rather than being stuck in a “wonderland bubble”, he wants to see the basic issues and annoyances that people deal with in their lives.


4. Francois Hollande, President of France
Francois Hollande campaign meeting in Toulouse
In May 2012, President Hollande announced that he would take the train to official journeys within France, and to European summits in Brussels, to save money. He then took a scheduled high-speed train from Paris to Brussels to attend a summit.
5. Chadchart Sittipunt, Thailand’s Minister for Transport
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Closer to home – In Thailand, their transport minister Sittipunt doesn’t take the bus every single day, but he takes public transport seriously. He took a bus to the airport because he wanted to find out what it’s like. He even gave himself 2 hours for the journey but nearly ended up missing his flight because of traffic. He also conducted a poll to find out which bus service was the worst and when he got his answer: Bus number 8. He decided to ride the bus. He has even urged his colleagues and other officials to take the bus at least once a week.
6. David Cameron, former UK Prime Minister
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In 2010, UK Prime Minister David Cameron told government ministers to forget the limo and take the Tube. The rule was part of a ministerial code that aimed to rebuild trust in politics and politicians following the ministers’ expenses scandal and excessive public spending. And Cameron walked the talk.


7. Hugh Jackman, Actor (& Superhero)

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Hugh Jackman is Wolverine – a superhero can basically grow claws and heal himself – even that doesn’t mean he is above public transport – captured here taking the NYC subway.


8. Rahm Emanuel, Mayor, USA

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Mayor Emanuel takes the train to his city hall office about twice a week. He likes the convenience and the “political benefit.” He shares, “A lot of people come up and talk to you, and it’s a great way to have people feel like they can access their mayor.” We agree.

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