Minister's remarks contradicts what operators say.

Transport fares not linked to oil prices? Really?

Andrew Loh

At a grassroots event on 20 December, Transport Minister Raymond Lim was reported to have said that “transport fares are not directly linked to oil prices”:

21 December 2008 (Straits Times)

The answer is that public transport fares are not directly linked to oil prices… Refuting the idea that fares are directly linked to oil prices, he pointed out that ‘from 2007 to this year… oil prices went up 40 per cent, but fares went up just 0.7 per cent’.

However, in the last two years transport operators have cited increases in oil prices as a reason for asking for fares to be increased. One report (see below) even reported operators as citing higher oil prices as the “main justification for a fare rise”.

23 March 2007 (Straits Times)

In the past two years, the operators cited higher oil prices as the main justification for a fare rise.

2 August 2007 (Straits TimesAsiaOne)

Back then, the operators blamed high costs – in particular the high price of fuel and manpower – for the need to raise their fares.

Today, the companies are citing the same reasons – manpower and energy – for their fare increases.

1 August 2008 (Straits Times):

In a statement on Friday, SBS Transit said it is applying to raise bus and train fares because fuel and energy costs have “increased significantly in the last year”.

So what is going on? Were Singaporeans misled? Why is the Transport Minister now saying that fares are not linked to fuel prices?


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