Thursday, December 6, 2012

Public Transport Fare Increasing!

The MIA transport minister and former navy general has reported for duty finally. After taking cover for so long since the strike started and ended, he has come out to say that next year, bus and shhhhh...train fares would go up to pay for drivers' increased wages.   Sure, this policy to increase bus fares would be super popular and a sure vote-winner for the next election. Outstanding!

All this while, the former SAF army generals have taken the heat. Tan Chuan Jin from manpower for backing Desmond from SMRT. Desmond was also MIA on holiday when the crisis started as he was also trained enough to avoid the shelling, and would stick his head out only when safer. At least Tan stood up from the foxhole first with SAR 21 firing from both hands. Desmond and Tan wanted to turf out the troublesome Tiongs and send a fuck-you hardline message that the Tiongs must not get the impression that they can screw us more than we can screw them. We the boss! If the Tiongs don't get that message to play ball and not play punk, they would be climbing over heads of their bosses and even onto top of construction cranes to "sabotage" worksites!

However, this Lui is sending a contrary and not subtle signal that the strike by the SMRT service leaders', a damn stupid term and worse than "bus captains", was successful and salary changes would be made as a result of it. Army-Navy boxing! Fight fight fight!

BTW, SMRT chief Desmond also said they would be bringing in more SAF personnel into SMRT to do HR and other command-control tasks. That really inspires confidence in SMRT, at least the former butch SMRT CEO was a great retailer and made SMRT profitable from its retail rather than buses and trains.

SAF has a stellar background in HR policy and management. Sure, right. What they going to do, make the SMRT bus drivers do area cleaning and stand-by bunk to wake up the idea of the Tiong drivers? Make them do sentry duties so there would be no vandal intrusion into SMRT interchanges? Make drivers sign extra do weekend duty driving? Facepalm.

Public transport fare adjustments to take into account bus drivers' wage increase
By Dylan Loh | Posted: 06 December 2012 1626 hrs
Channel News Asia

SINGAPORE: Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew said on Thursday public transport fare adjustments, due next year, will take into account the need to raise bus drivers' wages.

Mr Lui was speaking for the first time in the aftermath of the illegal strike by bus drivers from China last week, and said public transport cost increases over the years have outpaced fare adjustments.

He was trying out the route of a new service on Thursday under the government's billion-dollar Bus Service Enhancement Programme.

Mr Lui said the 34 Chinese bus drivers out of work from SMRT due to the strike make up only about 0.5 per cent of the total pool of 8,000-odd drivers.

Therefore, the impact on bus enhancements should be minimal.

What's of concern, however, is the lingering effect of the strike on recruitment and retention of bus drivers, and Mr Lui said the government is watching this carefully.

Looking at public transport fare adjustments of past years, Mr Lui said while fares have increased by 0.3 per cent, costs in fuel and wages for instance have gone up by 30 per cent.

He said the fare review committee recognises this "significant mismatch".

Mr Lui said: "Any fare adjustment will allow the two operators to have more resources, in time to come, to make further salary adjustments to their drivers. We recognise that the drivers need to be paid more. (The) question is, where is that money coming from?

"So we need to see the relationship between any fare adjustment, wage increase, and any other forms of government support that we might be required to give to the operators."

Mr Lui said it is difficult to wean dependence off foreign bus drivers as Singaporeans may not want to take up the job.

So salary adjustments, at least, will make the occupation more attractive to locals.

He said previous salary adjustments have helped to increase the recruitment of drivers, both local and foreign.

When asked whether SMRT should face any penalty as a result of the strike, Mr Lui said the operator will be evaluated according to quality of service standards.

Impact on bus services as a result of the two-day strike will be taken into account.

Mr Lui said he also spoke to SMRT's Chief Executive Desmond Kuek on the strike, and said the organisation needs to improve in many areas.

He said Mr Kuek needs to be given time to turn things around.

From December 16, two new SBS Transit bus services will start plying under the Bus Service Enhancement Programme.

Service 50, which will start service on December 16, will cover Ang Mo Kio, Yio Chu Kang, Sengkang and Punggol.

Express Service 513 will start on December 17, connecting residents of Tampines to the Central Business District. This service only runs during the morning and evening peak period on weekdays.

In addition, four new bus services will be added to the bus network in the first quarter of 2013.

Three of them come under the government's enhancement programme, while the other is a trunk service by SBS Transit at its own cost


  1. The solution is to nationalize the transport system. The profits from SMRT and SBS Transit is more than sufficient for any wage increases.

  2. It is very easy to run transport companies and ministry. Just increase fare and commuters have no choice but to put up with over crowding, poor management, poor maintenance and bad service. Wonder who oversees these companies and persons responsible for bad corporate governance.

  3. The common denominator in the strike saga - all SAF generals. Some more ex-SAF going inside SMRT. The co from profit-making sure go into loss-making. Better sell SMRT shares now!

  4. Does it not sound like Burma, where generals rule the country by holding key appointments in the government and private sector. Certain percentage is reserved for the military

  5. Sounds like Burma only if you are stupid. Generals of armies that have influence in the country usually have connections, in US, Singapore or China. Once they retire, go into politics or business based on their connections.

  6. sell SMRT shares?!?!? HELL NOOO!!!!

    this type of monopoly, plus govt protection where shareholders profit have priority over consumer feedback, go where find in this universe?????


  7. Anonymous 8:12am
    Yes, nationalise as transport is a public good. It is not the perfect solution as nothing is perfect, but if it had the spirit of HDB in its prime years ago, public transport can be basic, cheap and good.

    Anonymous 9:32am
    Yes, but can run well or not. That is the risk of nationalisation though if mismanaged as there is no incentive to improve but yet can charge high prices. Hey! Like now even when not nationalised!

    General JLB
    SAF generals, Cols and LTC everywhere. They have short shelf life and must keep them happy otherwise they stage coup!

    Anonymous 1:15pm
    Cheap shot lah...but quite true to extent! North Korea and PRC also have same pattern!?? LOL

    Anonymous 3:02pm
    But Singapore quite established the path for senior SAF to go into GLCs. PAP knows they have to keep them co-opted and also to renew SAF leadership constantly to prevent them from getting too comfortable and powerful as a political force given SAF's big presence in Singapore.

    Anonymous 3:02pm
    Yes. Generals have networks and influence, for personal and political gain.
    'Generals for hire': Royal British Legion chief under pressure
    Petraeus affair: Why the cult of the American general?

    Anonymous 3:46pm
    Analysts downgrade SMRT stock to 'sell' If contrarian principle and go against herd - BUY BUY BUY