Ok. I admit it. It probably has nothing to do with building arks, and neither have I read about any real impending floods! But! But! I know that there’s going to be floods of moans, groans and complains, and why is that so? Simply because the level of service that’s rendered by SBS and TIBS is still way below par. Take for instance, I don’t know why I have to wait 45 mins for a 980 service at Bugis Junction, only to alight at Sembawang and realise that the next one is just 200m behind. I have not written to them because I am apathetic towards the service level. I don’t think they will improve, but they will probably increase the fares anyway, citing “increase in fuel and manpower costs”.

To the  transport operators:

Come on! The last time you said this, you had an over 39% in net earnings! Why do you keep pulling a fast one? I just don’t understand it. If you feel that profits isn’t enough, why don’t you just cite reasons like “we need additional fundings to improve our service levels” and such? And if you do, you jolly well improve it! Damn it! I feel like a sucker!

Article from straitstimes.com:

Bus fares to go up by 1 to 2 cents from Oct 1
By Christopher Tan, Senior Correspondent

BUS fares will go up by one to two cents from Oct 1, the Public Transport Council announced on Tuesday.
But there will be no increase in train fares.

The Council said in August that transport operators SBS Transit and SMRT Corp had applied for fare increases – an annual revision exercise governed by a set formula.

This year, the formula caps fare rises at 1.8 per cent – or around three cents per ride.

The last fare increase was in October last year, when costs went up by one to three cents per ride.

Back then, the operators blamed high costs – in particular the high price of fuel and manpower – for the need to raise their fares. They are citing the same reasons this time.

SBS Transit, part of the ComfortDelGro group, for instance, said their costs have gone up significantly.

“Energy costs, for example, rose by 20 per cent or $20.3 million last year – having already increased by 41.2 per cent in 2005,” SBS Transit spokesman Tammy Tan said.

“Manpower costs, the company’s largest cost component, also increased by about $12.1 million during the year.”

SBS also pointed out that it had invested heavily in buses as well as commuter services.

It spent $135 million on new buses in the past two years. And it has rolled out an online bus arrival system, which helps commuters to plan their journeys better.

Lower SMRT earnings
SMRT pointed out that the increase in the goods and services tax as well as the 1.5 percentage point rise in employers’ CPF contributions will pull down its earnings by about $11 million a year.

It said the fare increase, if kept to this year’s cap of 1.8 per cent, would only partially offset the company’s total cost increases.

SBS is proposing to keep children and school student fares as well as concession pass charges unchanged.

SMRT has also said it will not raise fares for children and students, and all bus cash fares.

SMRT is also waiving any increase to the first fare band of its MRT single-trip ticket, which costs 90 cents. It added that it would extend its senior citizen concession hours to match SBS’.

Schemes to help the poor
Both operators said they would come up with schemes to help the poor cope with any fare rise.

The Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) is not entirely convinced that a fare hike is in order.

Case executive director Seah Seng Choon has pointed out that transport companies are enjoying “good returns.” For instance, SMRT achieved a 39 per cent rise in net earnings to $37.94 million in the first quarter.

“‘With such significant increase in net earnings, commuters would certainly expect it to show clear justifications for any need to hike fares at this point in time,’ he said.

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