Cow Beh Cow Bu

SMRT’s “Free Bus Services and Bus Bridging” is Not Free

Sardines loved the space they were given in our buses

Sardines loved the space they were given in our busessing

On 23 September, yet another train breakdown along the North-South line inconvenienced thousands of passengers. According to, this is the 16th breakdown in 2014.

Singaporeans must continue to KPKB because the PAP is not serious about addressing the issue which is tied to our insane population growth. The PAP just keeps throwing billions of tax dollars and pray the problem will somehow resolve by itself. Without the billion$ in financial support, our system would have already collapsed, no thanks to poor management.

One of the factors leading to frequent breakdowns is the increased train frequency. Our rail network was not designed for the current population.

Our rail network system was conceived in 1967 when our population was about 2 million. In 1980, our population was only 2.4 million. Our MRT system was actually designed with a population of 4 million in mind. Confirmation:

In URA’s Revised Concept Plan 1991, the government had wanted “to develop a viable land transport network that could meet the demand of a population of 4 million by the year 2030”. A gradual population growth rate allows for issues to be ironed out and citizens can also have a good quality of life.

Year 2030 arrived 30 years earlier in 2000 after some wise leader laid out the red carpet for immigrants and allowed the population to increase by 100,000 annually. Was there any planning? Or simply ramping up GDP figures to justify GDP bonuses?

Another confirmation is each train has only 6 carriages and our platforms were not even designed for expansion! Good planning? Compare this with trains in Hong Kong which have 8 carriages.

Bad planning just got worse when the PAP government insisted on increasing the population to 6.9 million by 2030. LTA’s solution – remove seats (all if possible) from some carriages!

Hmm … isn’t our government aware of the ageing population issue? So expect elderly citizens to sit on the train floor?

Our train system will never improve under CEO like paper general Desmond Kuek who had zero experience in transportation. Maybe Kuek’s responsibility for all the army military transport counts as experience?

When the LTA punishes PTOs with fines, commuters are in effect being punished for our PTOs’ failure. The $2 million fine paid by SMRT reduces its profit by $2 million and it will then KPKB to the PAP about high business costs to justify future fare hikes.

And why should the fines be used to help needy families with transport fares? Isn’t it the role of the government to help the needy? It seems commuters are the losers for every action taken by the authorities.

Increasing train frequency and increasing ridership/population may be good for our GDP but commuters ultimately suffer. The system has a 4 million population limit and we’re now at 5.4 million heading towards 6.9 million. The next major breakdown is only a matter of time and a new record for the number of affected commuters will likely be set.

Commuters have been hoodwinked into thinking a “free bus services and bus bridging” exists. What is free from the PAP in Singapore?

Our public transport system has been privatised and the authority in charge is LTA. But whenever there are screw ups, not once has LTA been held accountable. Replacing $6,000-per-day-Ferrari-owning ex CEO with zero experience ex military man Kuek is not going to make any difference to commuters. At every stage, commuters have been made to pay for an expensive broken system with fare hikes. Worse, commuters are also taxpayers.

There’s nothing free under the PAP. We should be mindful of “free bus services and bus bridging” because the next fare hike will take into account this “free” service.

This commentary was written by Phillip Ang.
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