Is the govt justified to increase the public transport fares?

The government has announced an increase in public transport fares, citing the recent increase in operating costs. Many people complained about this further increase in the cost of living.

The decision makers and their supporters pointed out that the public transport fares in Singapore are lower than the fares in the major cities in other developed countries.

I wish to give my views on this matter.

a) I agree that the public transport fares in Singapore are lower than other cities, such as Sydney and London. I have visited these places and know that their fares are higher.

b) The Singapore government also subsidizes public transport by funding the cost of the infrastructure and the purchase of trains and buses. The operators have only to meet the operating expenses.

However, I do not support the current fares and the further increase that will be implemented in December.

Here are my reasons:

a) There is scope to reduce the operating costs by streamlining the network of train and bus services. The current network has duplication and inefficiency and has led to higher operating costs. We have too many bus services, leading to inefficiency and lower utilization. These services can be streamlined to reduce operating costs, without any deterioration in the quality of service.

b) The fare structure gives too much of the revenue to the first leg of a journey, which usually involves a bus. Consequently, the bus operations are profitable and the train operations are unprofitable. This hides the inefficiency of the bus operations. We should change the fare structure to distribute the fare revenue more equitably to all the operators.

c) Our management cost is too high. The top management of the bus and train operators earn remuneration far in excess of those earned by their counterparts in other cities. The excessive remuneration should be reduced.

If these measures are taken, the current fare structure is more than adequate for the operators. There is no need to increase the public transport fares.


Tan Kin Lian




29 Responses to “Is the govt justified to increase the public transport fares?”

  • Gov money come from where ah?:

    Just because the gov spend $1 billion on transport, they say the gov is subsidising us. What kind of logic is that?

    The money come from us in the first place!
    So the gov take $x from us, spend $x on us, and want us to pay the gov $2x. Sure make tons of profit, absolutely risk free.

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  • Asd:

    I think competition or monopoly?
    I think if cannot compete to provide better and cheaper service but instead of closing down make the poor working class pay even more to support this nonsense is nonsense

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  • Asd:

    I think this is clear that these so call listed company are profiteering off the back of the aching poor

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  • TruBlu:

    Subsidies expended on public transport shud not be targetted for coverage by increasing transport fares EVERYTIME!Such subsidies are being n shud be covered by the taxes oredy collected.

    COUPLE this with RECKLESS SPENDINGS ON OSTENTATIOUS PET PROJECTS,it shows how uncaring n EMPTY the gahmen really are.

    It is the more ordinary low-salaried sgs who must take PUBLIC TRANSPORT n such *INDIRECT* forms of sucking(taxing) the common folks is simply a comfirmation of the uncaring n greedy conduct of ENRICHED GOVT OFFICIALS N POLICY-MAKERS.


    WHAT A STOOPID WAY OF EXCERCISING PUBLIC FINANCE POLICY especially when there are so many sgs being made to suffer *joblessness* – unemployment n UNDER-employment- at the same time?

    Whatever happens to sincere, honest, socially-minded n caring good governance planted by Old Guards such as Dr Goh Keng Swee?

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  • Guru:

    “Singapore are lower than other cities, such as Sydney and London”
    Mr. Tan, we are living in Singapore and not SYD or LON. Why are you not mentioning this in your comments??? What about their salary and our SIN counterparts???

    Plse be logical.


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  • the khaw must go:

    all those jlbs at the top should just take a pay cut. do nothing except raise fares each year ..whilst they take home mil$ salaries plus 18mth bonuses.
    where is the fairness.
    shouldnt they indulge in some serious brainstorming to bring their never ending costs down.
    who asked for endless mrt lines when we still need to change lines or take buses to get to our destinations ..all this in a tiny city of sg.
    ridiculously FAIL in planning.
    where’s the prudent spending?
    is that all you ministers know, treating sgs like walking atms?

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  • RDB:

    @ Guru: October 10, 2019 at 4:12 pm (Quote)

    “Singapore are lower than other cities, such as Sydney and London”
    Mr. Tan, we are living in Singapore and not SYD or LON. Why are you not mentioning this in your comments??? What about their salary and our SIN counterparts???

    Plse be logical.

    Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)

    How big is Singapore compared to those cities you named? Don’t their public transports have to travel far greater distances plus more traffic jams and also go through more traffic light junctions? Do please think before you speak.

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  • Not Justified at all:

    as long as pap time expired paper general is drawing S$2m+ pa, it is not justified At All.

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  • MarBowling:

    The Coverment is following and applying the Great words of wisdom of Lee Kayu: What is wrong with collecting more money. Do what you think is RIGHT, don’t care what other people say!

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  • Sinkie:

    2-tier public transport pricing is best:

    Lower fares for the 3.5 million Singaporeans, offset by higher fares for the 2.2 million foreigners in the city state.

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  • Dear Mr Tan:

    First, all PAP ministers, cronies and GLC CEOs are overpaid, including NTUC Income CEO.
    You were once, as Income ceo, paid multi times more than your staff. Touch your heart, how many (and as percentage of Income staff strength, including insurance agents) earned more than you then?
    I dont think the fare structure is as what you describe, otherwise, MRT operators will cry foul.
    I dont think it is difficult to allocate fares (captured in ez link) to the bus and mrt operators for a journey comprising several buses and/or mrt.
    Ideas are cheap, talks are cheap, opinions are cheap.
    I remember you suggested years ago about have some numbering system for bus stops for buses, without thinking and realising that there may be several buses going to the same destination bus stop via different route. I think you shut up your idea after realising that.
    Do you know many old folks still do not know how to take MRT?
    You are a rich retiree or rich businessman with a car, or spare money to take taxi (you take grab?), so whether bus services are cut to streamline as what you persistently suggest is not going to make any difference to you, just complain or write in to complain about long waiting time foe your bus, and the relevant bus operator will add more buses at your home bus stop, maybe set up a bus stop near your house, but not in front of it fpr it may reduce the exclusivity and value of your landed property.
    There is no cure for a big ego.
    It is ok to grind an axe … for the better good.
    It is good to wake up from indoctrination.
    Many PAP cronies, ex senior civil servants and ex Ministers are drawing fat salaries from GLC or related companies as director, advisors, chairmen.
    It is ok to speak up like Tommy Koh, now that he is not on “PAP” payroll.
    Look at the big picture and dont mess things up.
    Sometimes, it is best to keep quiet, no petition, no Hong Lim Park rallies, no Opposition “Manifesto” (that PAP modify later to claim as its ideas to implement its policies), and let PAP fumble.
    PAP policy is bring in foreign investors, crooks or otherwise, foreign talents, fake or otherwise, foreign workers, as cheap as possible. Make the rich get richer, through their investments, properties and squeezing ordinary people. “Subside” to appease Singaporeans.
    Let the 70% (from 59%) learn a hard lesson.
    PAP will fail one day.
    If not, Singapore will I am sure.

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  • no chances left just vto:

    its totally morally wrong.
    an economic downturn is on affecting many. scores of people are losing jobs.
    prices of everything incl vegetables have risen recently.
    truly the people at the top have hearts of stone.
    mireover its not a company thats losing revenue. instead it posted a huge 70% profit increase!
    yet if citizens still want to vote them in, then be prepared to suffer more n more!

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  • opposition dude:

    Don’t need to talk so much on this topic lah, just vote in more opposition in the next election can liao.

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  • Thor:

    For all I know,I pay $10

    Every commuter is Already paying traveling fare in advance.

    When commuters top up the ez link card.

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  • Thor:

    The main idea is let commuter to top up


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  • Bapak:

    And your guys still believe HDB price will never drop?

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  • UniQ:

    As all infrastructures and Equipment employed to provide the service by Taxpayers, I guess the next gahmen should ask themselves what is public transport ?

    Should Net Profit be cap to control cost ?
    Should Public Transport Organization even be listed ?

    Then the people will have a better clarity what the current gahmen is hooding the nation to control votes thru employment and justifying their high income at the expense of everyday common commuters to a rightful existence ?

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  • Taipei MRT, must see:

    Here is a youtube about Taipei MRT. They even compare with SMRT.

    Main points:
    Low fare without increase for many many years.
    They still make good profit, including revenue from retail space.
    Managed by mayor only, not super-paid ministers.
    No wayang fare council to increase fare every year.

    In Singapore, the huge profit from retail space is quietly put into a different pocket, carefully separated from train revenue.

    So, left pocket (retail) overflowing with money, right pocket (train) not enough money. Very poor making losses (sarcastic lah).

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  • Harder Truths:

    Is the govt justified to increase the public transport fares?

    Government : It is not us – the fares are under the Operator

    Operator : I need to pay the increase in taxes and profits required by TH / GIC

    TH / GIC : We need to invest for the good of $G

    Citizen : This is unfair! The Prez must take action!!!

    Prez : Can I have more Milo?

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  • New PSLE Question:

    Quick, quick, help solve this before stressed out mothers complain.

    A company has only two departments. The purchase dep buys food that is used by the sales dep to sell food to customers. After one year, the purchase dep makes a loss of $300 million while the sales dep makes a profit of $1 billion.

    1. After the Pappery CEO takes a special bonus of $500 million, what is the profit of the company?

    2. The Pappery CEO says the purchase dep is not sustainable. It is subsidizing customers to the tune ot $1 per plate. He has to raise the food price by $.50 a plate to help recover loss. Do you agree with him, and why?

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  • to the ever expensive cost:

    //How big is Singapore compared to those cities you named?//

    exactly. sinkie is so dense and small hor ? so by right hor, per unit of distance to be connected for people should be cheaper hor (economic of scale hor) ? perhaps, 6.9m or 10m open-leg policy in a small place has “breached” the physical optimum level (in terms of no. of commuters / frequency / load factor relative to the ever expensive cost (rentier society) / quality consciousness of staff to maintain it hor ?) ?

    even small, sinkie land white idiots are still looking achieving 6.9m or 10m with pride ?

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  • breakdowns of train lines:

    //The current network has duplication and inefficiency and has led to higher operating costs. We have too many bus services, leading to inefficiency and lower utilization. These services can be streamlined to reduce operating costs, without any deterioration in the quality of service.//

    aiyoh. maybe the white idiots are not telling what they know lar ? one possibility for the duplication of services is because deep inside the white idiots foresee breakdowns of train lines (chat-ba-lang cultural standard), hence needing the buses (excess ?) to cover the disruption lar ??

    with 6.9m or 10m open-leg policy, expect more of these lar ?

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  • breakdowns of train lines:

    //Our management cost is too high.//

    aiyoh. limitation of scaling lar ?

    sometimes once the optimum level / number of people are reached (just like in many big organizations), you need even more expensive intermediary middle-levels (some are really jiak liao bees) to coordinate the many moving parts lar (humans with all sorts of chat-ba-lang motivations which may not align with the organization’s) ??

    that’s why the good theory of expansion (scaling to take advantage of brand or corporate good names) about higher volume and higher absolute profit (as you can see in many organizations in their nice presentation pack) may fail in actual practice and out of sudden, organisations have to cut cost of whole divisions, product lines, etc or unnecessary / nos. of expensive intermediary layers of jiak lia bees ??

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  • More Pain Needed:

    Just pay up daft suckers!
    This is not new anyway, why complain now?
    The greedy pigs are blessed to have you as their free ATMs.
    If you feel the pain , it’s time to make changes, learn to vote right the next time.

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  • Darth Vader:

    We have already REPEATEDLY told you we’re NOT supportive of your IDIOTIC idea to “streamline” bus services because it FORCES us to use an ALREADY SEVERELY OVERLOADED MRT system and denies us free choice. Think you’re so bloody smrt tkl? Then HOW COME you can’t see the TRUE CAUSES of ever increasing public transport costs?!

    1) The STUPID idea of the government paying private operators to run the service. So WHO GETS the fares these operators collect? Obviously the companies’ owners: temasek holdings. So WHY then are TAXPAYERS’ monies being used to pay for the repairs? Shouldn’t the OWNER i.e. temasek holdings be the one to pay for them?!

    2) END the so-called “competition” between these PTOs. WHAT competition is there when they’re all SISTER COMPANIES UNDER THE SAME OWNERSHIP?! Instead, consolidate them altogether and eliminate some buses from plying identical routes. THIS is HOW to streamline operations, NOT your MORONIC feeder service plan, tkl!

    3) WHY must these buses & trains sport fancy paintwork? To foster identity? Why not sell advertising space instead? Won’t this generate revenue? If you’re truly even 0.000001% as smart as you claim you are tkl, you would think of alternative sources of income as well

    4) In Japan, buses and trains can be chartered for special services. They also occasionally run special service or tourist trains and buses. So WHY can’t Singapore study this idea, and if found feasible, implement it here? And since you believe you’re so smart tkl, WHY didn’t you think of this? Because Japan is a highly successful CAPITALIST state and NOT the marxist shitholes you love so much tkl?

    For everyone else here, think about this: this asswipe tkl has been posting STUPID ideas here nearly every damned day, exhorting us to accept communism and had even promoted the “opposition manifesto” that the opposition parties all disavowed and that TCB & CSJ both denounced as fake. Now WHO would benefit from a USEFUL IDIOT like tkl posting such garbage that solves NOTHING but DAMAGES the opposition by painting them as idiots like tkl himself?

    Just think about it

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  • I Know:

    Higher dividends for Temasek mah!

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  • Political children:

    The Pappies advertisement says more buses better service.

    We say more buses more terrific jams. What say you caw?

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  • To 70% Singaporeans:

    This is what you get and also for us! And price increase of everything since 2015. Thanks too for the upcoming GST increase!
    Well done, you deserve it.
    This is the upcoming farewell gift from KBW. Anyway he will still be drawing fat salary as some honcho in GLC or whatever, a much sought after talent PAP treasure, cannot dispense with, and by the private sector.
    The ex General ex SMRT CEO is now a UBS big gun. By the way, is Singapore government still a bigger shareholder of UBS? I am not sure if the government has recouped its billion $ lost in UBS? UBS share has dropped to 10 euro!
    There is another executive with multi-million dollar annual pay that PAP can peg their Ministers pay.
    I wonder how much PAP government gave or promise to give Dyson to move its HQ to Singapore.
    Dyson boss bought 2 properties here worth over $100 million.
    No wonder private property prices are going up, also thanks to LW and KBW policies!
    There is another billionaire with multi-million dollar pay package that PAP can peg their Ministers pay.
    Now, Dyson is not building electric cars in Singapore after so much hype.
    Maybe one more gift from KBW. Every pedestrian including babies, walking (or being carried) on walkways must buy personal accident insurance, just in case you get knocked down by PMD, e bike, or whatever – it is for your safety, just like the mandatory healthcare hospitalisation insurance every resident has to buy again implemented when KBW was the Health Minister.
    PAP keeps saying income gap is a problem.
    Who creates it?
    Who creates price rises?
    Property price increase, rental increase, business profit has to increase, CEOs pays increase, food prices increase, Ministers pay will increase, government expenses increase, GST increases.
    Can the GST rebates cover our GST increase?
    Why PAP refuses to increase income tax especially on the top tier earners? The multi million $ PAP Ministers are still paying the same rate, maybe less with all kinds of rebates the general public may not be aware of.
    Wealth is not just about job income, it includes investments, properties, inheritance.
    The majority of Singaporeans can add their HDB flats as wealth but one day it will have zero value, so do not be the last person without a chair in his music chair game, PAP huge import of foreigners cannot be sustained.
    Congratulations to KBW, LHL will give a big thank you to you, just like his late father has exalted MBT.

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  • SMRT Close Down:

    It’s never justified just like PAP’s existence is not justified.

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