By Leong Sze Hian
I refer to the article “SBS Transit, SMRT submit applications to raise fares” (Straits Times, Dec 19).
Fares expected to increase?
It states that “Transport operators SBS Transit and SMRT have both applied to increase bus and train fares.”
Best dividend yield stocks?
Almost every year, SMRT has been recommended by stock analysts as one of the best stocks to buy for dividend yield, in the Singapore stock market.
How many countries in the world have their public transport operators being consistently recommended as amongst the best dividend yield stocks in their stock markets?
The average dividend per share per year for SMRT over the last 5 years is 6.94.
For SBS Transit, it is 6.62.
The above makes our 2 transport operators amongst the highest and most consistent dividend yield stocks in Singapore.
SMRT and SBS Transit’s total profits over the last 5 years are $689.8 and $204.8 million, respectively.
This gives a total profit of $894.6 million or an average of $178.9 million per annum.
Are there any public transport operators in the world that are so profitable?
With the commencement of the Downtown line this month, will their profits increase even more in the future?
Can spend over $1b, but nothing to keep fares from increasing?
If the Government can spend more that a billion dollars to help the transport operators buy buses – why can’t it have the operators not to increase fares?
Fare formula that guarantees fare increase?
Why do we approve a fare formula that perpetually guarantees fare increases, regardless of the profits and dividend payouts of the transport operators?
Fares higher than other developed cities?
The rhetoric and argument over the years to justify fare increases was that Singapore’s per trip fares are much cheaper than the per trip fares in other developed countries. This may be a flawed argument, because hardly anyone who uses public transport pays per trip fares, in these countries. They use annual, 6-monthly or monthly unlimited multimodal passes.
New York is 26% cheaper?
For example, New York has a 30-day pass for US$112 (S$141 a month).
Sweden is as much as 58 to 30% cheaper?
An annual pass in Stockholm cost as little as SEK4,990 (S$954 or $80 a month) for people below 20 or over the age of 65. Other adults pay SEK8,300 (S$1,586 or $132 monthly).
In contrast, Singapore’s MRT and bus monthly pass (only introduced in recent years) is S$190.
So, New York is about 26 per cent and Stockholm is about 58 to 30 per cent cheaper than Singapore.
I also understand that it may even be cheaper or free in the smaller towns in Sweden.
Finland is 58% cheaper?
In Finland, an adult pass in Helsinki for 30 days is only 45.9 Euro (S$79), which is 58 per cent cheaper than Singapore’s.
Most expensive London is only 10% higher?
Even the most expensive annual pass that I can find – London is S$209 a month (annual pass 1,216 pounds (S$2,506)).
This puts London at about only 10 per cent more expensive than Singapore.
But all these cities have much higher wages?
However, as all of the above cities have much higher median and minimum wages than Singapore, our transport fares are arguably, one of the highest in the world, relative to wages.