Oh yes, it’s the time of the year again – time to raise the transport service fares! Woohoo! It’s been quite a long wait since October last year and I am so glad that it finally arrived!

The last time they raised the fare, I mixed up the announcement date and the actual date that the fares would be raised. Naively, I thought that there would be no raise… but realised subsequently that the fares didn’t seem too right. This year, I would be better prepared – October 2007! 🙂 In fact, I think I’d mark it in my calendar.

Raising bus fares really add an element of surprise when I take public transport and it really spices up life a little – like realizing that I won’t have enough fare to take a bus out from school because there was supposed to be $0.01 left, but turned out to be $0.06 instead, in deficit. Argh! I should stop being a smarty pants and should just top up my card regularly. Moreover, there are no top up machines in school, so there’s no way to top up the card. Pay cash? That spells almost a dollar.

Raising bus fares (and giving rebates) also provide a sense of satisfaction when you alight from the bus. “Yes! I’ve saved another 20 cents!” when in reality… you probably ended up paying more. Somehow, they all add up – these little cents or 2, because I happen to need to take 2 buses and a train to school. 🙁

Perhaps if they stop spending millions of dollars trying to make the bus stop look like an airport with all the arrival notices, they can probably use that to offset the cost? Gah! And…. a jam is a jam is a jam… I just wonder how the arrival notification system is going to predict the duration of the jam anyway. Then again, it probably does work… after all, it did cost more than an arm and a leg.

The PTC is supposed to regulate and moderate the fares by approving fair fare hikes when the economy is good. But I which company will apply for a fare drop when the economy is bad. This is totally ridiculous. And the last time SMRT was commenting that they were going to be in the reds if the fares weren’t increased, they ended up having surpluses that outperformed the previous year’s earnings! That’s so utterly disgusting. You mean to say that few months of hikes can give you that kind of surpluses? Then the hike probably wasn’t fair in the first place. I’d never forget that news report.

Argh… why do I care anyway? I can’t do anything to stop them and PTC will just simply approve the applications. After all, a record 61,900 jobs were created last quarter and the property market is booming and everyone’s coping with the 2% GST hike and no one seems to be complaining. What’s a fare hike?



Reader's Comments

  1. Robert HO,,, S0197974D | August 3rd, 2007 at 11:16 am

    RH:

    1. One would have thought that on such a tiny island of 650 sq km, it would be easy and quick to develop a decent bus and mrt system, given that Singapore has probably the highest density of people in the world to patronise such a system. I have written that ‘buses can come every 15 min or so [as alleged] to every bus stop and still collect enough boarding passengers to make a tidy profit’. Yet the entire screwed-up system is testimony to typical PAP stupidity and greed.

    2. Why stupidity? On such a tiny island, just about 40 km wide and a lot less north to south, it should not take more than an hour to travel from anywhere to anywhere, even by bus, let alone dedicated-track mrt trains. Yet the geniuses in the PAP have developed a system of Bus Interchanges where you have to take a Feeder Bus from your home or office, after waiting at least 15 min, that goes NOWHERE except to the nearest Bus Interchange. This ride typically takes 10-20 min depending on where you board, as it goes in circles and NOT straight to the Bus Interchange.

    3. At the Bus Interchange, you wait another 15 min or so [I am relying on the officially given average waiting time of 15 min or so but experience says it can be a lot longer all along the entire experience of getting from A to B]. Then you board your bus that travels out of your estate. This is thought by the geniuses to be a ‘long’ journey, hence this Feeder-Interchange-Interchange-Feeder System. Although we must try to remember that Singapore island is max at 40 km wide, this arrangement means that any ‘LONG’ [ha, ha, ha, but it’s no laughing matter to the poor daily commuters] journey is thus done from Bus Interchange to a slightly further Bus Interchange, typically, in the next town or estate.

    4. Then, from that second Bus Interchange, you again wait another 15 min for the last ride in a Feeder to your home or office. Thus, the entire journey, which, by car or any wheeled vehicle, would take no more than 30-45min, TAKES OVER 90 MIN, or at least an hour and a half. You wait a] for the Feeder, then b] at the Interchange c] at another Interchange, before finally boarding the last Feeder home.

    5. Such F-I-I-F commutes mean not only more waiting time, but also more ride time on the bus as each bus must go along profitable routes, meaning it must pick up the maximum number of paying commuters, and, of course, not straight to where you want to go. Also, more commutes inevitably mean more bus fares, as even the geniuses must recognise. [But this is so profitable to the 2 Govt Companies running this scam that this is not considered a problem].

    6. In the old days, before PAP stupidity became paramount and overriding, there were a whole panoply of buses running from place to place and you could usually take a SINGLE bus, so much cheaper and faster, to wherever you want to go, especially if you start from a dense estate and travelling to a popular place, like an office in the city. Only if you are from a sparse estate and travelling to an unpopular place would you have a problem, in which case, you’d probably take a taxi.

    7. This efficiency is the case in Hongkong today. Hongkong has, all along, free competition even in buses. So the system that evolved there became so good that you could always hail a mini-bus from your estate and go to any popular place direct, in just one cheap, direct trip. And because the mini-buses are small in passenger capacity, and not allowed to have passengers standing, the mini-buses need not go on long, circuitous routes to pick up maximum passenger load to be profitable. IN EFFECT, THEY ARE MORE LIKE TAXIS, UNLIKE OUR HUGE, MEGA BUSES THAT MUST GO CIRCUITOUS ROUTES TO MAXIMISE LOADS. [We have huge Bendy Buses that combine 2 buses in 1, joined in the middle; plus huge Double Deckers. The stupidity of equating BIG with BETTER is plain. Why is it that LIE Kuan Yew could copy so many things from Hongkong, from high rise public flats, to financial centre to mtr, etc, and yet does not have the brain to see all this?]

    8. There is more LIE KY stupidity [believe me, he is involved in every single decision in Singapore. Former Minister LIM Kim San even related to the Straits Times that the early Cabinet even discussed the kind of squat or sit toilet bowls to have in HDB flats]. How did the Feeder System come about? The system of Bus Interchanges was deemed to be critical in PROVIDING PASSENGER LOADS TO THE MRT! When the MRT was first built, some bus commuters preferred to take the buses because they were cheaper and sometimes even faster. So, in typical LIE KY PAP fashion, the Govt decided that they must be FORCED to take the mrt, in order for it to be profitable. SO THE SYSTEM OF FEEDER BUSES WERE REALLY TO “FEED” [OFFICIAL TERMS, “FEEDER”, “FEED”, etc] RELUCTANT BUS PASSENGERS INTO TAKING THE MORE EXPENSIVE MRT! [Note: all Bus Interchanges are also mrt stations]. Today, the mrt has expanded to become so convenient that it would be profitable even without such ‘forced feeding’ BUT THE DICTATORIAL NATURE OF THE REGIME MEANS THAT IT IS PAINSTAKINGLY SLOW TO RECOGNISE THIS, WHICH TO THIS DAY, IT HASN’T.

    9. And because the long-suffering Singaporean commuters have been cowed into a totally uncomplaining, unthinking lot, fearful of even seeming to criticise the almighty PAP, with GodLEE powers and wisdom who cannot be wrong, and the PAP media did such a brilliant job of impressing on every impressionable mind that LIE can never be wrong, nor his Govt, and that Singapore is the epitome of efficiency, things could not even be questioned and therefore, could not be changed. And thus, the status quo.

    10. The greed of the 2 Govt bus companies also kept the whole system stuck in the rut. Why change when you could raise bus fares and mrt fares every year or so? The Govt regulator, like all Govt regulators regulating Govt companies, could not and would not question any fare increases, since the top honchos in both regulator and regulatee are the same PAP men, all very cosy and all drawing obscene pays for not thinking at all, let alone out of the box. Let the poor commuters suffer. Just manage their expectations. LIE KY’s wife is also said to have huge shareholdings in 1 of the 2 Govt bus companies. So may others of the LIE famiLEE and cronies. Thus, these cash cows are not to be trifled with, regulator or no. No changes allowed. Just more of the same. Just keep doing the same old thing.

    11. Thus, between PAP stupidity and PAP greed, the Singaporean commuter is truly screwed. He pays 4 bus fares in the F-I-I-F system when he should have paid just one. His bus trips take 2 hours when it should have been 30 min. He pays bus and mrt fares that rise almost every year, inexorably, without being able to complain or take an alternative. Since the 2 Govt bus companies also own the mrt system, he really has no alternative but to pay and pay, every time the fares are raised. He has no choice. He has no alternative. [Every time a mrt route is established, all the bus services that could provide an alternative to the mrt are discontinued, so that the mrt would be profitable and have no bus competition. This is central planning at its best].

    12. It would not be so bad if the above is just applicable to public transport. BUT IN EVERY SINGLE GOVT AND GOVT COMPANY SERVICE, THE SAME SCENARIO IS REPEATED. GOVT MONOPOLIES, WHETHER DIRECTLY BY THE GOVT OR BY GOVT COMPANIES, THE SAME THING REALLY, ENJOY COSY MONOPOLIES, DEVELOP STUPID POLICIES AND STUPID SYSTEMS, ALL WITH THEIR HANDS DEEP INTO EVERY SINGAPOREAN’s POCKET, TO LOOT AT WILL, THE SINGAPOREAN DISENFRANCHISED AND VOICELESS, A VICTIM WITHOUT ANY RECOURSE OR ALTERNATIVE, NUMBED BY PROPAGANDA INTO QUIESCENCE, ALLOWING THE LIE REGIME TO DO ANYTHING ANY WHICH WAY THEY LIKE. THIS IS THE REAL SINGAPORE STORY. A STORY LIE KUAN YEW WILL NEVER WRITE. BECAUSE HE IS TOO STUPID, ULTIMATELY, TO SEE ALL THESE GREAT OCEANS OF TRUTH WASHING UPON HIS ISLAND.

    RH: MY ACQUAINTANCE, A FORMER POLICE INSPECTOR, AND HIS LAWYER FRIEND, EYEWITNESSED LEE KUAN YEW RIGGING THE 1997 CHENG SAN GRC ELECTION. READ MORE AT MY BLOG ENTITLED “I CAME, I SAW, I SOLVED IT” :

    http://i-came-i-saw-i-solved-it.blogspot.com/

    [ALSO AT THE ABOVE BLOG, LIE KUAN YEW’s LIES, WRONGFUL JAILING, TORTURE AND BEATING TO DEATH OF INNOCENT POLITICAL PRISONERS]

    READ ALSO MARTYN SEE’s INTERVIEW WITH ME AT:

    http://singaporerebel.blogspot.com/

    MY ARCHIVE OF WORKS AT:

    http://i-came-i-saw-i-wrote-it.blogspot.com/

  2. Ridz | August 4th, 2007 at 4:18 pm

    Heh…now you can top-up your EZlink card at the friendly 7-11 that’s near Canteen A… =)

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