The Straits Times
Published on Dec 12, 2012

Set up CPF trust to let public share in SMRT profits


TO AMELIORATE the virtually knee-jerk negative public reaction towards adjusting bus fares ("Raise bus fares? No way, say most"; last Saturday), the Government could set up a trust for Central Provident Fund members to participate in funding the purchase of buses at an assured reasonable commercial interest rate of return, to encourage them to become shareholders of SMRT.

Any future fare increases will be less of a social issue when commuters and shareholders are essentially one and the same; it is like money passing from one hand to the other of the same person.

However, low-income earners may not have enough CPF funds to place in the trust.

So the Government could set up a transport rebate fund, perhaps in next year's Budget, to help mitigate fare rises for the low-income group.

Such a fund has precedents in the Community Silver Trust and the GST Voucher Fund.

The money for the fund should come from the full fares paid by commuters.

It is the public transport management's responsibility to have adequate but not excessive means and resources to maintain peace and harmony in its workforce, and provide quality and reliable public transport services.

Tan Kok Tim