The Straits Times
Published on Nov 27, 2012

Tighten checks on school bus fares


WITH the school year just ended, schools have sent circulars to parents regarding the transportation arrangements for next year.

My daughter's school bus operator, who I understand has been operating the route for more than 10 years, had to bow out after failing to clinch the tender.

I would assume that the purpose of calling a tender is to make costs transparent and competitive.

Once a school bus operator has been appointed, all parents requiring transport services for their children would have no choice but to pay the amount charged.

Imagine our shock when we received the circular informing us that the school bus fare would be almost 18 per cent higher from next year.

Even after accounting for inflation and oil price rises, is such a big increase justified?

The incumbent school bus operator had already increased fares from the previous year. Are yearly fare increases the norm?

Parents who rely heavily on the services of school bus operators are at their mercy.

Though I understand that the Singapore School Transport Association is unable to set fare guidelines lest they contravene the Competition Act, there should be some government authority looking into the arbitrary pricing.

Jocelyn Tan (Ms)