Another “double standard” in public transport?

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Why allow taxis to have “surge pricing”?

I refer to the article “ComfortDelGro’s surge pricing option may open a can of worms” (Straits Times, Jan 19).

It states that “But in the case of surge pricing, the “few dollars more” can amount to three or four times the normal fare. It is not uncommon to hear of a 10km ride costing $40-$50.

And during a major rail breakdown – such as the one which crippled the North-South, East-West lines in July 2015 – irate Uber customers complained of fares exceeding $100.

And now, ComfortDelGro, Singapore’s largest taxi group, is teaming up with Uber to launch UberFlash, which will offer the option of surge pricing.

Have policymakers changed their stance? It would seem so, given the regulatory concessions private-hire players enjoy. In this increasingly laissez-faire market, there can only be one outcome: Higher fares, and an increasing disenchantment among the masses denied access to the next best thing to a car.”

So, is this not in a way – yet another “double standard” by the public transport authorities – to the detriment of commuters?

Another example of a recent “”double standard” by the public transport authorities – to the detriment of commuters” is described below.

“The discounted fares before the morning peak period will amount to a fare adjustment quantum of -2.2 per cent. The balance -3.2 per cent quantum, which was allowable under this year’s fare formula, will be rolled over to the 2018 Fare Review Exercise” – does it mean that the -3.2 reduction would have resulted in a reduction in fares for practically everybody?

If this is the case – why are we deferring it to next year’s fare review exercise?

Is it fair to do this to commuters?

Is this not akin to changing the formula when it results in a fare decrease, and sticking to the formula when it resulted in fare increases in the past?

Do the above not make you wonder as to whether our public transport authorities are more focused on protecting the consumer or the operators?

By the way, has anyone raised this in Parliament or in the media?

Leong Sze Hian

About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as the president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), Hotel Mumbai (associate producer), invited to speak more than 200 times in about 40 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of 2 countries. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.