Include commuter experience in fare computation

I am appalled by the new formula for the computation of public transport fare(Formula for bus, train fares set to reflect rising costs; March 23).

Previously, factors such as oil price and inflation were easy to understand. When oil prices go up, electricity prices go up, too, leading to higher operating costs and a corresponding increase in fares.

However this new factor is linked to the increasing network capacity.

Isn't that an asset? The more the network grows, the more accessible places are going to be.

This will encourage more people to abandon their car ownership dreams and start embracing public transport. Isn't this the Land Transport Authority's recent narrative for our transport system?

Now, just like how motorists pay road tax, Singaporeans are going to have to pay a "road tax" for using the public transport network. These are the same people who contribute annually to building the nation's infrastructure. Why tax them twice?

Also, the new factor is too complicated for the man on the street to understand. It should instead be tied to commuter experience and, so far, this has not been improving.

Instead of looking at more innovative ways to increase fares, LTA and the Public Transport Council should incorporate commuter experience into fare calculation. After all, this is public transport and Singaporeans do not have an alternative. Or should we go back to car ownership instead?

Desmond Teo Mingjie

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 24, 2018, with the headline 'Include commuter experience in fare computation'. Print Edition | Subscribe