Monday, Dec 22, 2014Monday, Dec 22, 2014

Opinion

 
Christopher Tan

Switch in model frees operators to focus on service

Published on May 22, 2014 6:00 AM
 
A contracting regime for bus services will allow the Government to have more say and control over service standards, simply because the state will now pay the operators for their services. Meanwhile, operators will be released from the tension of having to balance revenue and service standards. -- ST PHOTO: MATTHIAS HO

AFTER four decades of relying on the profit motive to ensure buses are run efficiently and, in turn, keep public spending in check, Singapore has admitted that a model change is due.

The Government will now implement a contracting model, where operators bid for the right to operate routes in a competitive tendering system.

Tenders will be awarded based on, among other things, the competitiveness of a bid and the track record of the bidder.

Having secured a contract, operators will be released from the tension of having to balance revenue and service standards - something which they have been trying to do in the last 40 years or so.

 
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Background story

Subsidies will be central to the contracting regime. From a public policy perspective, using tax dollars to defray the cost of public transport - a common practice worldwide - is sound.

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