Thursday, November 7, 2013

Fare Hike Confirmed

At first glance, it would appear that Christmas is early this year. The Fare Review Mechanism Committee (FRMC) seems to have come up with sweeteners to soothe the pains of the commuters, punching the right buttons to address poly students, physically challenged, lower income, senior citizens and kids taller than 0.9 m.

The worrying part is when they start rambling on about "judicious balance" between affordability of fares and profitability of private operators. You can easily spot someone has his thumb on the scales when the FRMC freely admit that they have "tweaked the fare formula to ensure their (operators) businesses remain financially sustainable".

One significant fare "reduction" in the list of recommendations is the pricing of the new monthly "hybrid" pass for polytechnic students, $52.50 instead of previous $97.00. The bugbear that remains unresolved is that the hybrid figure is an arithmetic sum of the $27.50 bus concession and the $25 train concession. One who has taken a bus to school would have wasted the prepaid train fare to the same destination. Surely a logical computation of the fare should be somewhere in the middle, say $40. You can bet your bottom dollar they won't tweak that formula in favour of fair play for all. Once again, proof that profit considerations triumph over commuter concerns of affordability.

One opposition party stated the rather obvious: "It should not be the Government's responsibility to safeguard the profits of SMRT and SBS Transit, which are commercial entities". The cynics may add: or protect the luxurious lifestyle of "retired" army officers and favoured cronies.


  1. Why are they telling us about high operating energy cost?
    As a household, we also have high operating transport cost! Didn't a certain Raymond Lim once said fare hikes has no correlation to fuel cost?

    Thank god those children taller than 0.9m but below 7yrs old can now travel free...duh.

  2. Lye Khuen Way11/07/2013 12:40 PM

    One very senior gentleman once or twice did promised those who subscribe to SBS, SINGTEL shares of very good dividends. How he intend to ensure that it does forever, is beyond me but you can bet no one will dare deviate till ......

  3. They reduce the fares for some but maintain the same level of profitability, then surely the rest of us must be paying higher fares, no?

    Some times they even dare to say the money must come from somewhere, so are they going to announce another round of fare increases?

    1. The best part of it is that they are so pretentious before they actually announce the fare increases, they try to paint a good picture of themselves by announcing the subsidies to certain groups first.

      They forgot to tell us that those fares before the new subsidies kick in are already inflated to ensure the companies make a reasonable profit. So at worst, there may be little or no real subsidy or less profit only ? All because they have such a complicated formula that only they themselves know where is the hidden profit ?

  4. They will tell you they have a robust regulatory framework for fare hike but what with the LTA's low service benchmark for PTOs - 85% of public transport journeys (under 20km) to be completed under an hour. What a joke, a world-class marathoner can meet that standard if not faster. What is more ridiculous is people are paying more each year for lower service standard and yet the bus companies can claim they are losing money.Whatever, just wait patiently for next round of fare hike and be prepared also for a little bit of drama when PTC Chairman goes on air to say it is very difficult to balance the interest of different groups of people but he believes a significant part of the public will benefit from the new concessionary packages and better overall service quality, blah blah blah. (Not yet an opera but wayang 2.0)

  5. treat public as essential service, remove coe for public tpt vehicle, workers levy and what ever other govt charges ... these are jus regressive taxes borne by people who take public tpt...

  6. What characterises a communist regime? lack of market forces to help companies get proper feedback to improve, non-competitive services, no competition leading to inefficiencies, artificial profits of state-owned companies, self-deluding statistics, hubris and propaganda to cover up cock-ups. Those were the main reasons why the USSR failed, not because of gulag, not because of political oppression, not because of the yankees and reagan's big missiles. Unfortunately, while they would argue there is "profit motive", in reality its an artificial charade of guaranteed profit for THL funded out of smart schemes to tax the masses (mind you the rich won;t bother to use public services - their abnormally high profits and low taxes guarantee they can afford 1st class solitaire service wherever they go). Not giving you real choices, higher ERP/COE/GST are all forms of taxes that force the money from taxpayers' pockets into THL's coffers, to show a high return for madam, or to make good huge holes on THL's balance sheet. Like the USSR, the edifice will collapse one day, except I would be a beggar by then, no longer have strength to join the revolution. The need to protect THL's return will be the downfall of red dot.

  7. When they spent billions of taxpayers funds to buy buses & add trains for the running of 2 public listed companies, just wonder how they classify these fixed assets added to the financial statements of the public listed companies ?

    If it is not a loan but is a fixed capital expenditure classified as a public subsidy, then is our PAP Govt not putting monies in the pockets of their respective shareholders ? And what happens if any of our PAP Ministers happen to own some shares in these 2 listed companies ?

    Will this not be a classic example of how public funds can be so easily & legally manipulated to benefit some people in high positions hiding behind shareholdings of these listed companies in proxy ? Can anyone really tell who really own those shares belonging to proxies represented by banks & financial institutions ?

    Just imagine, spending billions just like that as if the funds belong to their grandfather ? I think Chen Shui Bian would be more than happy to become one of our Ministers ?

    1. Chen Sui Bian is chicken compared to Marcos and Suharto. The Taiwanese,
      Hong Kongese and Mainland Chinese
      will never allow their Rulers to abuse
      their power like those Rulers in South
      East Asian Countries. Convicted Rulers
      in S E Asian Countries ARE JAILED IN

      Those undiscovered are definitely living
      far much better than the Convicted Ones
      with power to wield and to exploit their
      people further and wreak more damages
      to the wellbeings of the people.


    2. Not just the funds, but the entire island belongs to grandfather Lee. As for Chen Shui Bian, he failed to legalise corruption during his term and even then, Chen could have staffed his President's Office with 7 ministers to "yo lumpar" ( shaking the testicles in Hokkien lingo ) and pocket a percentage of their salary.

  8. Keep voting Opposition.
    I want to see how much higher the fares will go.

  9. Notice they never make any effort to reduce costs, such as using more fuel efficient buses or cut down unnecessary overheads.

    1. You can be sure that they will keep the savings to themselves and expect public to pay for all their expenses and profits. The news was out on the reduction of 1.5% productivity gain sharing to 0.5% in the fare formula, which means PTOs get to keep more gains from their productivity efforts. Regardless, Ah Lui will still go ahead to announce fare hike next Monday after a week-long media campaign to prepare the ground for the highly anticipated "happy" news.

  10. Same old same old. Never trust what a politician has told you. He never tell the truth. People got screwed once and will be screwed subsequently. They never learn their lessons. Politicians know that weakness and will continue to screw you.