I can hear them.
The distant cries of pain and groans of discomfort from our fellow Singaporean commuters.
It’s that time again, to raise transport fares.
Thankfully, it’s just the train fares this time for now.
How Much Are We Talking?
SMRT and SBS Transit are both applying for an increase of 7 per cent.
This means an average increase of 10 cents per ride.
Hey, that’s not so bad. Of course, that’s not to say it won’t get worse in the future.
But Why Though?
SBS Transit and SMRT Trains cites “higher repairs and maintenance costs” as the main reason for the increase in fares, along with a hike in energy prices.
And if the increase leads to a decrease in train breakdowns and overall more consistent train timings, I’m all down for it.
Imagine if our transport system were as bad as New York’s, which purportedly runs on a really old signalling system, causing it to be more prone to crashes.
I can’t speak for everyone reading this, but I definitely wouldn’t want to be on a high-speed train crash.
SMRT Trains CEO Leo Ling Wee has mentioned that “In financial year 2019, SMRT Trains’ maintenance-related expenditure accounted for 71 per cent of rail fare revenue, up from 62 per cent in financial year 2018,” and that “total operating cost has exceeded fare revenue and is not sustainable.”
They’re no longer earning money.
Although I understand the reasons why the fare needs to increase, the rather primal Singaporean in me still wishes to keep more money to myself. The best kind of money is the one we own, after all.
When Are We Going To Get Poorer?
According to the Public Transport Council (PTC), we can expect a final decision in the tail end of 2019. Which translates to really, really soon.
If there were something that I’d expect SMRT and SBS to be really on the ball about, it’d be the increase of fares. Who doesn’t like extra money, am I right?
What About Bus Fares?
Well, bus fares are not included in this particular application.
However, let’s not all forget the 2019 Fare Review Exercise, which could see both bus and train fares go up by 7 per cent.
And seeing as LTA now kind of owns the buses, we can only pray to the LTA gods for the potential lack of a fare increase.
I’m not holding my breath on that though.
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