Cheap fares not sustainable: Now most expensive?

Photo: CT/CC-BY-SA-2.5Photo: CT/CC-BY-SA-2.5

Are our public transport fares one of the most expensive in the world?

I refer to the article “Khaw Boon Wan says cheap fares are popular but not sustainable. Gets whacked by netizens” (theonlinecitizen, Mar 7).

It states that “”We must be careful that (fares) are not priced too cheaply, as maintaining a high-quality transport system requires resources. Cheap fares are popular, but they are not sustainable,” Mr Khaw said.

He then noted that the current formula is “inadequate” and the Public Transport Council (PTC) is reviewing it to take into account “total costs”, saying, “I am confident that they can work out a fair and sustainable arrangement. Please support the PTC when they make their recommendations.””

In my view, the bottom line on the affordability of transport fares is arguably, very simple – how much do Singaporean residents generally pay for public transport, relative to other countries?

Since I am in Spain now – let’s do a comparison.

The monthly cost for an annual pass in Madrid city central zone A is S$17, S$27 and S$74 (1 Euro = S$1.63), for seniors, youth and adults respectively, compared to S$60, S$51 and S$120 respectively, in Singapore.

(Note: “An Annual Pass can be applied for at any time during the year, its price proportional to the number of months remaining that year”)

After adjusting for purchasing power parity – the difference may even be greater.

Do we have one of the most expensive public transport fares in the world?

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.