I refer to the press releases of the Public Transport Council (PTC) and the Ministry of Transport (MOT) on the fare increase.
PTC wrote in its press release,
The Public Transport Council (PTC) has decided to grant an overall fare adjustment of 3.2% for the 2013 Fare Review Exercise. This is about half of the combined 2012 and 2013 fare caps of 6.6%, with the remainder rolled over to the 2014 Fare Review Exercise, which would also have to take into consideration the 2014 fare adjustment quantum1. The PTC has also decided to implement in full all the recommendations proposed by the Fare Review Mechanism Committee (FRMC), noting that the Government has decided to likewise implement the two new Government-funded schemes for Persons with Disabilities (PWD) and Lower-wage Workers (LWWs). In total, about a million commuters are expected to benefit from these enhanced and new fare concessions.
1 million pay less while 4 million pay more?
What it essentially means may be that most commuters will have to pay more, in order for some to pay less.
In other words, an estimated 1 million may benefit against 4.4 million who may end up paying more.
So many will buy passes?
Looking at the breakdown of passes – we may be making rather optimistic projections of the number who may buy the new concession passes, in the projections on the number who will benefit.
Can spend $1.1 billion to help operators, but not $53 million to not increase fares?
In this connection, don’t you find it rather strange and out of proportion – when we can spend more than $1.1 billion to help the transport operators – and yet increase fares to give an estimated increase in annual revenue of just $53 million to the operators?
No concession for low wage workers below age 35 or over 59?
Why is that the the concession for low wage workers (LWW) is defined as Workfare (WIS) receipients below age 60?
What about LWW below age 35 who are not eligible for WIS and those age 60 and above?
It says that the 3.2% increase in fares is less than half the national mean wage increase in 2013.
No mean wage increase?
I find it strange that the “national mean wage increase” is not given.
Since the 2013 wage statistics have not been released yet – does the PTC know something that nobody else knows yet?
Why use mean and not median?
Also, why use the mean wage increase, instead of the median wage increase?
5.5% fare increase?
For the shortest distance fare – the increase of 4 cents from 73 to 77 cents, is an increase of a whopping 5.5%.
This may affect the poor most, as they may generally try to take the cheapest ride to do their chores.
By Leong Sze Hian