This was my response to media queries I received on Tuesday (12 July 2011) regarding public transport fare increases:
The Workers’ Party (WP) has, in our 2006 and 2011 Manifestos, called for the MRT and public buses servicing major trunk and inter-town routes to be brought under a National Transport Corporation which will oversee and provide universal transport service to all. The National Transport Corporation should not be profit-oriented but should aim to provide public transportation services on the basis of cost and depreciation recovery.
This would avoid a situation like we have seen on Monday (11 July 2011) where, despite earning profits of $215.4 million* last year, the two public transport operators are still applying for what threatens to be the single biggest fare increase to hit commuters in recent years.
Having a National Transport Corporation would not necessarily mean higher subsidies or a loss-making endeavour. If competently run, the Corporation could reduce costs associated with the duplication of functions and roles.
We have seen many examples of efficiently run publicly-run service providers in Singapore in the past. It is a fallacy to think that the two public transport operators today represent genuine competition which imposes market discipline that ensures efficiency and good performance.
* SMRT Corporation’s and SBS Transit’s profits for the year ending March 31 were $161.1 million and $54.3 million respectively.
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