Fare increases and quality of service (COS – MOT)

The PTC chairman acknowledged that service reliability needs to improve, but said that this issue should be kept separate from fare raises, which are to cover rising costs for operators. This is quite baffling for most commuters, myself included. In most service industries, customers will demand good service before they even agree to pay. But for public transport in Singapore, we seem to be expected to pay more just to get satisfactory service.

Parliament, 11 March 2014

Madam,

In January, when the Public Transport Council (PTC) approved hikes in bus and MRT fares, many commuters asked why fares were being raised when they had yet to see satisfactory improvement in service reliability.

The PTC chairman acknowledged that service reliability needs to improve, but said that this issue should be kept separate from fare raises, which are to cover rising costs for operators.

This is quite baffling for most commuters, myself included. In most service industries, customers will demand good service before they even agree to pay. But for public transport in Singapore, we seem to be expected to pay more just to get satisfactory service.

Can the Ministry consider revising the fare review formula to incorporate service reliability as one of its components? This will create is a direct link between service quality and fare adjustments, and will better align the incentives for transport operators with the interests of commuters.

Author: Gerald Giam

Gerald Giam is the Member of Parliament for Aljunied GRC. He is a member of the Workers' Party of Singapore. The opinions expressed on this page are his alone.