Switch in model frees operators to focus on service
Published on May 22, 2014 6:00 AM
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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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.