Sunday, April 18, 2010

MRT Hike For Circle Line

The 500 guests must be sitting on edge as they listened to Transport Minister Raymond Lim speak at the opening of the Circle Line. "The Circle Line will enhance the quality of commute for the public..." went the Minister, and the audience waited for the familiar refrain: "...and fares will be upped by x amount for the new convenience." After all, this is the guy who threatened to increase the GST when one of his constituents dared beg the minister not to hike fares in a difficult economic period.

Surprise, surprise - no price increase! Skeptics say this is a confirmation that election is just round the corner. But the minister has his final laugh - all the way to the bank.

According to data supplied by SMRT, the existing 32 min ride from Serangoon to Paya Lebar MRT station costs $1.60. The new Circle Line travels the same distance in 9 min, but the fare will be $1.05. A 71 percent reduction in running time (and associated direct and indirect operating overheads) yields only 34 percent in cost savings to the commuter. Any PSLE student will tell you the fare should be 9/32*$1.60 = $0.45. The fare increase is there alright, just hidden in fudged figures. You actually thought Raymond Lim would miss an opportunity to rip off the commuters?

Don't bother to lecture him about productivity and intrinsic cost savings. He'd probably divert the subject to the other court jester, Lim Swee Say.


  1. Allow me to point out a small typo of yours, the court jester name is not correct, it should be Lim and not Ng.

  2. Hey, Stephanie, thanks for pointing out the typo - hope that doesn't mean all Lims are like that!