Forum: Learn from public transport operators overseas

I strongly agree with Straits Times editor-at-large Han Fook Kwang that Singapore's public transport model requires serious reconsideration (Funding public transport: Is it time to relook the model?, April 17).

To formulate a concrete plan, we must be willing to learn from high-performing transit systems abroad.

The consolidation of multiple public transport modes under a single government entity is a feature of many large cities around the world, with varying levels of success.

Crucial lessons on nationalisation can be gleaned from the example of successful public entities like Berlin's BVG, Paris' RATP Group and the Tokyo Metropolitan Bureau of Transportation, while other agencies could be studied as cautionary tales.

Even if the Land Transport Authority (LTA) decides to maintain the current contract operation model, there are many transit authorities running on that basis that it could take inspiration from, such as Transport for London.

Another key area of learning concerns transparency. Mr Han cites LTA's non-release of bus performance data after 2015 and non-disclosure of incentive payments to operators. This is quite unlike other cities' transit authorities. For example, it is easy to get details of reliability, station-specific ridership and financial performance from Japanese rail operators.

Data availability is crucial to solicit constructive public feedback that could improve transit operations.

Paul Chan Poh Hoi

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