By Leong Sze Hian
2 FRMC reports in 2005 and 2013?
I refer to The Fare Review Mechanism Committee Report 2013 (FRMC).
It says that the Average Bus and Rail Fare is $0.63 and $0.86, respectively.
However, if you look at The Fare Review Mechanism Committee Report 2005– the Average Bus and Rail Fare was $0.65 and $0.94.
Since the cheapest bus fare (feeder bus) is $0.73 – how is it possible that the Average Bus fare cited for comparison purposes with other cities, is lower at only $0.63?
You mean the poorest person in Singapore can pay just $0.63 for a bus ride, compared to a bus only commuter in the other cities?
Average fares lower after 8 years?
Since there were 4 fare increases in 1 October 2006, 1 October 2007, 1 October 2008 and 8 October 2011, a change to the distance fares formula (which some are still arguing as to whether it amounts to an increase or decrease), and just one reduction in fares on 1 April 2009, how is it possible that the Average Bus and Rail fare decreased by 2 and 8 cents respectively, in the 8 years from 2005 to 2013 – according to the 2 FRMC reports in 2005 and 2013 cited above?
Other cities’ fares higher?
If you look at the fare comparison with other cities, in the FRMC 2013 report – the Average Bus Fares (PPP Adjusted) in all the cities mentioned were much higher than Singapore – Hong Kong ($1.20), London ($0.89), New York ($1.24) and Tokyo ($1.59).
For Rail Fares, it was $1.65, $2.65, $1.54 and $1.29, respectively.
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 cities. This may be a flawed argument, because hardly anyone who uses public transport pays per trip fares, in these cities. They use annual, 6-monthly or monthly unlimited multimodal passes.
Hong Kong monthly pass from S$60+?
In Hong Kong, an adult can pay just HKD360 (S$60) to 565 (S$92) for a monthly pass extra for unlimited travel on designated lines plus a 25% discount on other travel. So, people in Kong Kong can pay as little as S$60 plus, especially for the poor who can try to limit their travel to within the designated lines.
This is as much as about 60+% cheaper than Singapore’s monthly unlimited travel pass, and arguably cheaper than what an average Singaporean spends on public transport.
Tokyo is 15% cheaper?
In Tokyo, I understand that an adult can pay 80,000 yen (S$974) for a 6 months pass which is $162 monthly – 15% cheaper than Singapore’s.
(Note: In contrast, Singapore’s MRT and bus monthly pass for unlimited travel (only introduced in recent years) is S$190)
New York is 26% cheaper?
Another example is New York which has a 30-day pass for US$112 (S$141 a month).
So, New York is about 26 per cent cheaper than Singapore.
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.
60 to 15% cheaper after adjusting for PPP?
However, after adjusting for PPP (Purchasing Power Parity) using the same PPP in the FRMC report, the cost for monthly passes in Hong Kong, London, New York and Tokyo, becomes S$72 plus, S$162, S$116 and S$100 respectively.
This makes them about 60, 15, 39 and 47% cheaper than Singapore’s S$190.
Most expensive monthly pass in the world?
So, does this mean that we have the most expensive monthly pass (PPP adjusted) in the world?
Sweden is as much as 58 to 30% cheaper?
Now that I have analysed the 4 cities cited in the FRMC report on a PPP adjusted basis, let me move on to some other cities without PPP (because I only have the PPP used in the FRMC report for the above 4 cities)
An annual pass in Stockholm cost as little as SEK4,990 (S$954 or S$80 a month) for people below 20 or over the age of 65. Other adults pay SEK8,300 (S$1,586 or S$132 monthly).
So, 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.
Fare increase soon?
The expected fare increase is still justified?
P.S You may also like to read my 2 previous articles”The alternative news in 1 day? (part 10)” (Transport operators’ financials?), Dec 21) and “Transport fares: Finland vs Singapore – 58% cheaper?“, Dec 18).