The two main transport operators in Singapore, SMRT and SBS Transit, do not face real competition, in the sense that in certain areas and routes, a single operator operates both the MRT and bus services.
It makes commercial sense for that operator to run only a single mode of transport, either MRT or bus service, for that route to maximise resources and avoid cannibalising its own services.
It will be prudent for the Land Transport Authority to consider introducing real competition by allowing operators to operate only either MRT or bus service in that route.
For example, if SMRT is providing a train service from Woodlands to Orchard, then SBS Transit should be allowed to operate bus services from Woodlands to Orchard.
With this, both operators will work hard to win customers to use their service by providing cost-effective fares, good quality and reliable services.
With real competition in place, commuter woes, such as rising transport cost, frequent MRT breakdowns and long waiting time, will be addressed in the quest to win customers. It will result in the best services for all commuters.
Also, when the MRT breaks down, commuters will have a direct alternative bus service to take to their destination.
With real choices, commuters can choose either to take the bus or the MRT to their destinations, guided by fare cost, comfort level and prompt and reliable services.
Chong Soon Keen