Fare Hikes in Singapore’s Buses

I kind of like this letter when I read it on The Straits Times today.

Explain reasons for bus fare increase in detail
I REFER to the reports, ‘Bus fares to go up by 1-2 cents next month’ and ‘100,000 needy families to get $30 transport vouchers’ (ST, Sept 12).

Can the Public Transport Council (PTC) explain the reasons and the criteria it used to reject the application for train fare increase and approve that for a bus fare hike?

Do more Singaporeans generally take buses more often and spend more on bus rides than on train rides?

Also, why are fares for senior citizens being increased?

What criteria did the PTC use to grant that?

Aren’t senior citizens generally more adversely affected by fare increases, relative to the general population?

The minutes of the PTC’s deliberations should be made public, like that of the Federal Reserve Board in the United States.

Instead of just announcing the decisions to approve the increase in fares, the public may like to know the criteria, reasons and process in the determination of fare increases – be it bus, train, feeder, student, or senior citizen concessionary – and how the quantum of hike was arrived at.

Bus fares are about to increase again, but what really is the main reason that it is approved? Is it rising fuel costs? Or rising production costs, of which our bus captain’s salary is included?

It does seem that there has been growing resentment with the people around me with the quality of our bus services these days. I’m not about to make a unfounded statement, but the comparison was with before and now, and thus we are justified to say that there could be better service.

Some black sheeps or black captains have been making SBS look bad. In fact, my own resentment against the bus service is that sometimes when I take the bus 157 from Toa Payoh, it takes me more than an hour to reach home, at other times, it is 40 minutes. However, the time period at which I take those buses are similar, and thus traffic is not an issue. Some bus drivers just like to crawl on the roads. Perhaps, it is the quality of the buses?

Some bus drivers keep having stalled engines too. However this is no room for concern since it does not waste much time.

Some bus drivers are really bad. Look at yesterday’s letter to the Straits Times. The poor lady gets flung off the bus because of the reckless bus driver’s action of speeding. However, the bus driver denies any accusation by the son of the poor lady, and “the female officer [at the bus interchange] even warned my mother of false allegations”.

What a wonderful service in Singapore.

Before anyone start commenting that the woman may have falsely accused the driver, let it be known that she was “diagnosed with a fractured lower back and tenderness over her left shoulder and upper limb” and I believe no one in their sound mind would ever injure themselves to accuse a bus driver, unless she has nothing else better to do or that she is of unsound mind.

Since our bus services have no improved (or have in fact, de-proved), why are fare hikes justified then? To pay for the black sheep within the captain’s community? Recently, if you have been reading the news, there has been an influx of letters from the public regarding bus captain retaining the E-Z link cards of children. Some are justified of course, but some are not.

I can only think of one reason. SBS needs more money to pay for bus captains who get assaulted during their course of work.

Perhaps SBS should offer some sweet treats for us. Improve the current state of service, else we will never be happy with the fare increase, especially when the service is worsening.

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