Yes, SBS and SMRT both got fined for not meeting the service standards set by the Public Transport Council. While the sums are not huge, it will still eat into the bottom line of the bus operators, who will then find that they don’t have enough to answer to their shareholders. The ultimate solution for them is to…

… raised the bus fares!

I thought this is rather elementary economics – where if you fail to meet the target for a particular year, you’d just increase the price of your services. Boycott? Yeah, if I were the CEO, I would say, go ahead! Boycott and take the cabs… who happened to be raising their fares as well through diesel charges and some other complex formulas that nearly requires an understanding of H3 Maths to calculate.

Nonetheless, I thought the fine is more of a slap on the wrist – I mean, it’s just S$9,300 and S$1,000 respectively against the millions that they are earning. Don’t even get my started on digging up their financial reports for the last 2 years. Then again, if the fines are heavy enough to hit them hard on their pockets, the buck eventually gets passed back to the consumers because the consumers are suckers anyway.

Oh wait, I am also one of the consumers. Darn.

It’s sometimes amusing to see how some organizations take money from the left pocket to put it into the right pocket; only to have the owner of the left pocket get more money elsewhere so that it will be balanced again. Perhaps it’s all in the view of being fair and just; perhaps it’s just… what? 7th month ah?

Then again, to be fair, I hardly see a cockroach running across the bus now. It will only remind me of India.

Anyway, I am caught between a dilemma now – to take a single bus service to my destination and having to pay 4 cents more; or to take 2 bus services just to benefit more from the rebate. Yes, I know. It’s a dumb man’s question.

SBS, SMRT fined for slips

By Christopher Tan, Senior Correspondent

SINGAPORE’S two bus operators have been fined for not meeting service standards as the Public Transport Council flashes its sharper teeth for the first time.

SBS Transit and SMRT Buses were fined $9,300 and $1,000 respectively for failing to meet standards such as scheduled trips operated, scheduled headways, as well as passenger load for the six-month review period between Dec 1 to May 31 this year.

The PTC, however, noted that both operators largely met its Quality of Service standards set.

The two operators have taken steps to meet the standards, such as buying more buses and stepping up their recruitment and training of bus drivers.

PTC chairman Gerard Ee said: ‘The operators have assured us that they will work harder to improve their service standards. The financial penalties that the PTC imposed are a clear signal that the operators should strive for better results.’

Mr Ee added that the quality of service standards are ‘demanding targets’ to ensure that commuters are well served.

‘With the recent increase in bus ridership, it has become even more challenging for operators to cope with commuters’ expectations and to comply with the standards,” he noted.

The standards kicked in last October, and the council has been empowered by the Government to impose financial penalties on companies which fail to meet them.

Penalties range from $100 per day per bus service route to $10,000 per month per standard.

The PTC will have its hands full when Singapore’s public bus market is opened up for more ‘contestability’ from as early as 2010.

Results of the next review are due in April.

Source: Straits Times Interactive,

Article extracted on 15th October 2008

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