26 May 2006

Singapore Public Transportation Rates

Sunflower has been exercising my brain quite a bit of late and again after reading her piece, I have something to say.

Public Transport in Singapore is actually something that we can be proud of but, has unfortunately been taken for granted by many. One nagging thought that has been bugging me is that why do people say that it is so wrong that our transport companies are profitable? I hear people complain that if the transport companies are so profitable, then why the need to raise prices? My question is: What is so wrong with being profitable? Look closely at the fares that they are charging now, can you honestly say that they are price gouging? If yes, then I would agree with these folks that being profitable under such circumstances would be wrong.

What worries me is the mentality of some Singaporeans that it is their "birth right" to enjoy FREE (or next to nothing) public transportation. HARLOW!!! Wake up can? Where got such thing as free transport one? You think fuel no need money one issit? Bus stations, MRT stations, employee's salary all fall from the sky one issit? Perhaps I also need to point out that a profit could also serve as a buffer against a loss in the event of unforeseen circumstances? If we were to operate right on the line of P/L throughout, wouldn't the transport companies go into the red at the slightest of mishaps? Then what? The Gahmen will have to take out money to bail them out? Gahmen money is still our money and so at the end of the day still LPPL. Only difference is that one way is we fork out money to make things better. The other is we fork out money to bail our public transport system out of the shithole. Which route would you rather your dollar take?

I don't understand why anybody would have a problem with a public-listed company trying to maximise shareholder's wealth? What is there to stop you from becoming a shareholder yourself? Call your local remiser NOW! Call 1900-iBuyBus.

Actually, it's not the complaining that I am worried about but rather the mindset of these people who think that the Gahmen owes them the public transport system. OK, so there is also the issue of the poor who would have trouble coping with the price increase. Has anyone gone overseas and see what the other countries are charging? Our rates right now is relatively low compared to the other developed countries and I will slap your head if you tell me that there aren't poor people out there.

Granted that there are the genuine hardship cases but I believe that Gahmen would have thought of that and is probably addressing these issues even as we speak. Those who geniunely need help will be assisted eventually.

Bottom line is that Coping with price increases is not a matter of can or cannot. It is more of a matter of want or want not.
I seriously do not think that our current public transportation rates are unreasonable. I think people are just complaining for the sake of complaining and nothing further.

 - Voxeros

1. Pam left...
Friday, 26 May 2006 1:07 am
of course people are complaining for the sake of complaining and no other reason. i completely agree with you re why shouldn't public companies make profits - that's a motivation if nothing else. fyi, it's been said that singapore's transport system is perhaps one of the v few in the world that's run on profit (maybe the middle east too, but they don't have taxes so don't count).

what happens when there's no profit is, the government has to plug the hole, pay for upgrading of infrastructure and then eventually, people will have to pay more taxes to plug this hole that the government's covering up!

a colleague just came back from singapore on a work visit and he was saying how great the transportation was (30p for a MRT journey, 4 pounds for a taxi ride from airport to hotel, etcetc). of course, i'll probably get slated for saying that because afterall, the argument will be, wah lao, of course it's cheap lah, you earn in pounds what.

but not so. because i've figured that my brother in singapore probably has more buying power than me. afterall, even though i may earn more (if I convert my pounds to SGD), the cost of living in sg is much much lower than over here, which means he can confidently save more money than me (not even including CPF).

but that's a different story. sorry if i've rambled!!

2. sunflower left...
Friday, 26 May 2006 1:10 am
Is this a check on me??? _""

3. JayWalk left...
Friday, 26 May 2006 2:24 am :: 
Pam: No rambling there. Just another person who echoed my sentiments exactly.

sunflower: I supposed it is. Just an alternative perspective to balance things up.

4. winter left...
Friday, 26 May 2006 2:13 pm
the fuel costs are increasing and it is eating into the profits of transport companies.
i am not surprised that bus companies will increase the fares again.
i guess the main concern for those who complains is when the living costs has went up but the earning power for lower income has not went up.

5. akk left...
Friday, 26 May 2006 3:34 pm
actually hor, i absolutely have no problems with our public transport. in fact, i love taking the mrt and buses, it's actually pretty relaxing for me looking out the window or having ears plugged with music or reading, esp during their downtime.

The only thing i am absolutely pissed about is TVMobile in the buses. I think it's a real waste of resource, money, causes bad eyesight and even in some cases, makes the elderly feel nauseous. When reception is bad, the pictures jump and the sound screeches, i don't think anyone can honestly say they think it's an absolutley fantastically great idea. However, you really cant help but look at it, becos the windows have been covered by advertisements fronted by the buses.

Perhaps there is a need to create more ave of profits by increasing advertising space, but the TVmobile is and will be a mistake from start to end. that hike in prices would most likely factor in TVmobile. now, actually, half the buses I take don't even switch it on or is broken down....really a complete waste of money.

anything else is extremely hunky dory and peachy, esp the MRT.

6. JayWalk left...
Friday, 26 May 2006 10:25 pm :: 
winter: I think you are right in the sense that the real problem is not the transport costs running away from the person's income but rather the person's income not catching up with the rising transport costs.
So rather than harping on the rising transport costs, how about focusing on getting a person's income up?

Akk: TV Mobile is not a bad idea. It's just badly implemented. Hong Kong has the same thing and so does Atlanta's MARTA system. No skips, no fuzz, no static snow and working fine.

7. akk left...
Monday, 29 May 2006 10:04 am
Having it on the BUS destroys a person's eyesight and causes headaches and nausea because of the juddering; that makes it a bad idea, regardless. on MRT, it's great if the transmission is good, and my gripe is only with buses having them and covering their windows at the same time, not the mrt, where reading is possible.

8. Robin left...
Monday, 29 May 2006 11:37 am ::
Previously internal bus is 15 cents.. now 90 cents.
Do u take bus? if u do, I am sure your cost of transportation must have doubled.
Imagine, those taking home below S$1000 (which constitute to 46 percent of the population), if one day need to pay S$4 on transport alone..
how can they survive?

9. winter left...
Tuesday, 30 May 2006 9:17 am
my points exactly.
I always thought we should look at the bigger picture about the income level. Besides transport costs going up, living costs are going up too.
If our income level is going up together with our living costs, the problem is not that big though

10. JayWalk left...
Tuesday, 30 May 2006 11:23 am ::
Winter: Let me do this with a parable.

A man goes to the doctor and complained that whenever he drinks coffee, his left eye damn painful.

The doctor asked him next time, to remove the spoon from the cup first, before drinking the coffee.
What the parable is trying to tell us is that rising transport costs here isn't the real problem. Income not keeping up with inflation is. We should be looking at way to tackle the latter instead of harping and whining on the prior.

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