Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew also said the Land Transport Authority (LTA) is working on a framework to assess the passenger threshold a new route ought to meet before it can be operated. What he should work on is the threshold of pain the average passenger will tolerate before this peaceful island will really turn red with seething anger.
Then follows the standard con job with the subsidy spiel: “The eventual amount of subsidy will crucially depend on whether fares and bus service standards are set realistically." We know by now the cost of the new bus system will be paid for either directly by commuters in the form of fare hikes or indirectly by taxpayers (in the form of Government "subsidies"). Notice the huge budget surplus this year is not factored into the equation.
Instead of stressing that new routes and higher service standards have to be “assessed judiciously”, what should be assessed is the performance of the ministers in respect of taking the commuters to the cleaners year after year. A new route could be tested for a few months and, if it does not cross the passenger threshold, the authorities may have to “sometimes make the painful decision to cut that route and eliminate it”. If pain alleviation is the objective, it would a more painless decision to cut some ministerial jobs.
Lui declined to reveal the Government’s budget to operate the system and how much it was prepared to subsidise the routes at this juncture. That's how paper generals and rear admirals work, spend the money first, let others worry about the cost. We only know one thing for sure: getting to work is going to me more expensive.