Friday, July 22, 2011
The Public Transport Debate: Josephine Teo, Christopher Tan
No tables or charts of numbers from Christopher Tan, but a well written and engaging tour of the history and experience of public transport systems elsewhere. Robustly he concluded that what matters is how it is run. He didn't propose what is best for us, and I think writing for the MSM, we cannot expect more. We should be happy that he obviously didn't coordinate with the Transport Minister how to write his piece.
My take is that we want the transport operators to put commuters as their number one priority. Problem is they operate under a structure where shareholders' and management interests rank ahead of commuters. As long as you stick with these priorities, commuters would be short changed. On this Gerald Giam had eloquently argued the truth. Since many public services are efficiently and effectively run in Singapore, it is understandable that the WP would propose a government run system. Had the public services been suffering a bad track record, nobody with common sense would suggest a National Transportation Corp to take on this job.
I can't understand this government which just seem to enjoy getting us to "eat bitterness" all the time. It is as if they need to be constantly be reassured that we always maintain a healthy appetite for tough policies in order to ensure our continual survival in a hostile world. This is so self defeating. God forbid, but I beginning to wonder if in trying to brain wash us, they had also done it to themselves.
Let me dig deeper before I round off this blog entry.
This government is a sucker for the US Republican Party "trickle down" effect. It believes that the social compact between the upper classes and the rest work because as the shoulder and neck support the head, the head in turn pass down the bountiful fruits of their inspired and excessive output. Therefore if SMRT does well commercially, somehow commuters must benefit. However I imagine CEO Saw Phaik Hwa would spend more of her time focusing on stations retail outlets to improve the top and bottom line and leave the train system to her engineering deputies. She would do the minimum as per the regulators require from SMRT to keep them happy and spend most of her waking hours on how to leverage her retail experience cut formerly at DFS to please the shareholders so she can get her million dollar comp. Can we expect the best train rides from a CEO incentivized this way? What trickle down effect? All drains are blocked. There are no trickle effects. SMRT plan and lobby the LTA and Transport Ministry for rail and train expansion? You must be joking. Bonuses doesn't come from such activities unless you can live on compliments from commuters.
Posted by PengYou at 4:41 PM