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Unfair of Public Transport Council to Blame Commuters in its Bid to Resist Fare Reductions

ELSON: The Public Transport Council has the leeway to grant lower public transport fares by up to 5.7 percent. This was exciting news for commuters, who have been accustomed to fare hike after fare hike while service providers reap ever-increasing profit margins.

However, it looks like another fare hike is on the horizon instead, reading what PTC chairman Richard Magnus said in his latest blog post, stating that commuters have increasing demands so fares must be priced accordingly.

“It is no surprise that I have been asked if PTC will consider granting the full quantum for this Exercise. I need to do what is right for our commuters. I also need to do what is right for the PTOs. My colleagues and I in the PTC must find the right and proper balance”

Bearing in mind that a monthly adult travel card for buses (which is considered a concession card, and doesn’t include train rides) is priced at S$120, I’m unclear who he’s been talking to when he says public transport fares are affordable when he says this:

“At a recent meet up with some Choa Chu Kang residents, they have informed me that they spend about $60-$80 a month on public transport expenditure. They hope that fares would remain affordable.”

Has Mr Magnus been getting feedback from people who don’t go leave the house much?

Mr Magnus goes on to say that fare prices will be influenced by “volatile” energy prices. Erm, when energy prices shot up, commuters had to bear as sharp a burden. Now that they’re down, we don’t get any reprieve?

The next thing affecting “optimal” fare prices is the need to “attract and retain our public transport bus captains and the maintenance, depot, systems and technical workers.”

This sounds reasonable, if we didn’t consider the double and triple digit millions in profit margins which our transport operators have been earning year-on-year. So, the fat cats in office don’t want to share their spoils and expect the men and women on the street to top up the difference?

And of course, there’s the reason that cost must be expended for better train service and reliability due to investment in rail system maintenance.

I think the best way for transport operators to cut costs is to focus exactly on that – reliability of the services – and not come up with some showy new toys which nobody really cares to use.

Like these USB ports on buses (which are so poorly-designed that using them is a challenge)

How about having transport operators fix the key problems in their core service of delivering efficient public transport first, before getting their money tied up in these new-fangled developments?

It’s like having babies – don’t put the procreation sex before the house.

I’m sorry, but if these are the reasons given, I find them sorry excuses to deny commuters a reasonable cut in fare prices.



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