Commuters entitled to better transport service

Passengers on an MRT train at Braddell station on July 17, 2018.
Passengers on an MRT train at Braddell station on July 17, 2018.PHOTO: ST FILE

Recent announcements about the rising cost of running public transport systems and how heavily they are subsidised have caused distress and indignation among commuters I know (Khaw: Fares have to rise to keep transport subsidies in check, July 9; and Train operators seek ways to manage costs for long term, Aug 31).

They seem to imply commuters should be grateful for the current transport system despite the train faults, delays and the massive crowds at major stations.

And now there is talk of a fare increase (Bus, train fares could rise by up to 7% next year, Sept 4). In itself, that seems fair so as to ensure that public transport is not perennially running a deficit.

But commuters already pay for the transport system indirectly as their taxes go towards the subsidies.

So if they eventually have to bear the full fare, they may also demand the full measure of service.

When buses and trains are delayed, there should be prompt reports and real-time updates. Commuters do not just want to know why it happened but also that it is being fixed and, most importantly, regardless of the delays or breakdowns, that they would get to work on time.

Time is money and transport companies seeking fare increases should be prepared to provide better service.

Peter Loon Seng Chee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 07, 2019, with the headline 'Commuters entitled to better transport service'. Print Edition | Subscribe