Transport fares: Highest increase in history?


Why increase transport fares by the highest ever in history?

I refer to the article “Bus and train fares to rise by 6 cents per trip from Dec 29: PTC” (Straits Times, Oct 30).

It states that “This round, the NCF – which took into account the additional buses pumped into the network last year and the first stage of the Downtown MRT line – contributed 3 percentage points to a 7.5 per cent increase the formula allowed. But because there was a carry-over reduction of 3.2 per cent from 2017, the latest adjustment comes up to 4.3 per cent, or six cents per trip.”

Since the lowest basic bus fare is 77 cents – does it mean that the increase is up to 7.8% (6 divided by 77 cents)?

So, by deferring the 3.2% reduction last year – it may in a sense mask the increase of – actually  11% (7.8 + 3.2).

I believe this is the highest increase in percentage terms in the history of public transport in Singapore.

It also allowed transport operators to make more money last year by deferring the reduction – deferring when the old formula resulted in a big reduction- kind of like changing the rules, when the score doesn’t suit you.

As to “The adjustments will translate to an increase of $78.2 million in fare revenues for public transport operators for 2019. Out of that, train revenue will rise by $35 million – with SBS Transit seeing a $10.9 million increase and SMRT seeing a $24.1 million hike.

The remaining $43.2 million goes to the Land Transport Authority, which administers bus contracts” – why is the LTA taking money from literally everyone – students, senior citizens, lower-wage workers and people with disabilities, whose increase will be capped at 1 cent?

Also, why do this when the government’s transport revenues are about $10 billion ($2.9 billion motor vehicle taxes, $1.2 billion excise duties (transport related), $5.9 billion transport and communication (fees and charges) and $41 million traffic fines) – estimated receipts for FY2016.

Moreover, we had a budget surplus of $9.6 billion.

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.