Thursday, January 16, 2014

PTC fare adjustment: At least there is compassion this time

I don't think public transport fares should be raised but I know that is also not realistic. This is an under performing system relative to the truest benchmark possible: our history. We used to have a better system until it was taken for granted, under maintained and under invested. Also like many I cannot reconcile the conflicting objectives of these transport companies aiming to maximize shareholders' returns and also provide the best possible public good. It is like wanting to be both tall and short at the same time. If you turn out average, you make those who want tall and those opting for short unhappy. Therefore these transport companies if they have any brains would choose to please one constituency (shareholders) and try to pacify (mostly unsuccessfully) commuters.

As long as public transport companies are operated for profit, it will be a vote loser. Don't try to tell me that is political courage. Stupid is the more like it and the citizens aren't spoiled brats.

If the government cannot deliver a very high standard then it shouldn't promise too much in the first place and fail to deliver. The days which it can have the cake and eat it are gone. Of course it will then worry that someone else could do better than them. To me they only have themselves to blame. Clearly many of us who had lived overseas do not expect as high standards from the host government or municipalities. Yes, those jurisdictions never promised like the Singapore government either.

All over the world no consumer forgive over promising and under delivering. A foreigner never mind he had lived here before could not understand because their frame of reference is always to compare against their homeland, which has no relevance to Singaporeans. In fact lacking a credible opposition presence in parliament, the people have assumed the role of holding this government to account. Again this is peculiar to Singapore and China, most foreign observers wouldn't understand.

  • 천브랜든 To the individuals who have expressed their dismay at this piece of news, I can empathise where you are coming from. However, I would like to request that you adopt a panoramic view of the situation. As someone who used to live in Singapore (and continues to visit annually), I am of the opinion that Singapore boasts a world class public transport system. Before I am besieged with a barrage of eggs aimed at my face, I would like to say - "YES" - I have read about the several instances of train breakdowns. However, my opinion still stands. 

    In Australia, the Brisbane-Gold Coast (and vice versa) commuters fork out a sum of AUD$19 for an hour-long one-way trip, making it a total of AUD$38 daily commute both ways. This results in a weekly expenditure of AUD$190 just for commuting to work for a five-day work week. Queensland Rail (QR) which operates the train network for the Brisbane-Gold Coast-Sunshine Coast area do not offer a monthly concession for their commuters. Similarly in Melbourne, commuters pay AUD$6.50 for a single trip when commuting within Zone 1 (AUD$10.50 for Zone 2). Unlike its Queensland counterpart, Metro which operates Melbourne's rail system offers a monthly concession. However, when the weather takes a turn for the worse (such as the temperatures in the 40s this week, most of the train services are cancelled due to the extreme weather conditions, leaving commuters stranded. 

    As the population of any city grows, the burden and pressures on the existing transportation network increases. I am fairly certain the BART system in San Francisco or the TUBE system in London face breakdowns just as SMRT's system does. Breakdowns do not incite the citizens or residents of that city or country to express petty notions of resentment or resonate a flawed tirade of political biases and shifts.

    Through the visionary foresight of many of its leaders, Singapore has become a force to be reckoned with in the global market. Ask not what the government (whoever is in power) can do for you. Instead, ask yourself what you can do to contribute to the success and growth of this vibrant country. Do not let myopia cloud your judgement. To be fortunate that you are living in a country with a growing economy and low unemployment rate, is something you should be appreciative and grateful for.
    3 hours ago · Like · 1

What I like about the PTC recommendation are the concession schemes for the low income and disabled. They should have done this long ago but better late than never. This is an early example I think of what the Tharman who first mooted it and than the PM mean by a compassionate meritocracy?

Compassionate meritocracy is not this government idea. It came about from public pressure. The true check against unfettered government power here.

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