Khaw Boon Wan’s Remarks On “Sharing Costs” Seem To Indicate That Yet Another Transport Fare Hike Is Coming

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Khaw Boon Wan Indicates That Transport Fares Will Go Up

Jia lat. Bus and MRT fares are going up again.

At least that’s what we gleaned from Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan’s speech during the Committee of Supply debate in Parliament on Wednesday (March 8).

Remember, a 30% hike in water prices was recently announced, and public transport fares were cut by 4.2% just 3 months ago.

Better Service

According to a report by The Straits Times, Mr Khaw said that “fares have not kept up with rising costs” and “taxpayers have to subsidise more and more of the operating costs”, especially as “we have been raising service standards significantly”.

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Strangely, Mr Khaw didn’t elaborate on how service standards have improved. Maybe he didn’t have to.

After all, just last year it was reported that MRT trains are more reliable despite a 40% rise in major disruptions compared with the previous year. And last month (February), it was reported that commuter satisfaction in public transport was at a 9-year high.

Incidentally, the trains broke down the very next day that news was released.

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Justification

Over the next five years, Mr Khaw said, the Government expects to subsidise public bus services by around $4 billion, and spend another $4 billion to replace ageing rail assets.

“And all this is on top of about $20 billion we will be spending to build new public transport infrastructure,” The Straits Times reported him as saying.

Translation: We’re spending so much on you, you jolly well pay more for it.

Mr Khaw also said the Public Transport Council will review the fare formula this year.

“They will consult widely. I am confident that they will decide wisely,” he said.

Translation: The Public Transport Council is going to raise the fares so high that you would expect gold-class seats and champagne on the trains for the price you will be paying.

Fare Adjustments

Well, we have already been paying more and more for it over the years, in case you’ve forgotten.

We decided to compile all the public transport fare adjustments from the past 11 years, according to the Public Transport Council, to see if that’s true. As you may see, there are more increases than reductions in fares.

Here are the changes in MRT fares from 2005 to 2016:

Date

Ez-Link Fares (Adult) Ez-Link Fares (Senior Citizens) Ez-Link Fares (Student) Cash Fares (Adult) Cash Fares (Senior Citizens) Cash Fares (Student)
1 July 2005

1-3 cent increase

1 cent increase

10 cent increase

1 October 2006

1-3 cent increase

1 cent increase

1 October 2008

4 cent increase

15 cent increase in transfer rebate

4 cent increase

10 cent increase

1 April 2009

2 cent reduction

10 cent increase in transfer rebate

2 cents reduction

1 cent reduction

8 October 2011

2 cent increase

1 cent increase

10 cent increase

6 April 2014

4-6 cent increase

2-3 cent increase

2 cent increase

20 cent increase

10 cent increase

10 cent increase

5 April 2015

2-5 cent increase

1 cent increase

10 cent increase

27 Dec 2015

1-4 cent reduction

1-2 cent reduction

1-2 cent reduction

30 Dec 2016

1-27 cent reduction

1-7 cent reduction

1 cent reduction

Here are the fare adjustments for buses from 2005 to 2006:

Date

Ez-Link Fares (Adult) Ez-Link Fares (Senior Citizen) Ez-Link Fares (Student) Cash Fares (Adult) Cash Fares (Senior Citizen) Cash Fares (Student)

1 July 2005

1-2 cent increase

1 cent increase

10 cent increase

1 October 2006

1-3 cent increase

1 cent increase

1 October 2007

1-2 cent increase

2 cent increase

1 October 2008

4 cent increase

15 cent increase in transfer rebate

4 cent increase

10 cent increase

10 cent increase

1 April 2009

2 cent reduction

10 cent increase in transfer rebate

2 cent reduction

1 cent reduction

8 October 2011

2 cent increase

1 cent increase

10 cent increase

6 April 2014

4-6 cent increase

2-3 cent increase

2 cent increase

20 cent increase

10 cent increase

10 cent increase

5 April 2015

2-5 cent increase

1 cent increase

10 cent increase

27 Dec 2015

1-4 cent reduction 1-2 cent reduction 1-2 cent reduction

30 Dec 2016 1-27 cent reduction 1-7 cent reduction

1 cent reduction

 


The price of public transport steadily increased from 2005 to April 2015, before being reduced from December 2015 onwards.

Thus, perhaps it’s time to increase again, after the recent fare respite.

For a more in-depth review of how the fares have changed over the years, you can visit the Public Transport Council’s chronology of fare adjustments.

Netizens Unimpressed

Inevitably, eyebrows were collectively raised on Facebook and Reddit over Mr Khaw’s comments on the “better service” seen on our public transport system.

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One user questioned why the government has to subsidise public bus services in the first place.

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Unsurprisingly, the general consensus is that of displeasure and scepticism.

 

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Justifiable?

Any sort of price hike will be unpopular among the masses.

If it’s justified, we believe Singapore may not complain too much.

But if something like “better service” is used to justify the constant price increases, then it would be a very bitter pill to swallow, especially given the near-constant MRT breakdowns.

Featured Image from Facebook and Marina Bay Sands.

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