I see a lot of anger about the public transport fare hikes, this despite 1.1 million of the neediest Singaporeans being unaffected.
Many are taking their anger out on Minister Lui Tuck Yew, one of the nicest blokes I know.
But let me say this: Do you really think that voting him out will make things better?
Which Transport Minister do you know has been popular? They have the most difficult portfolio, together with Housing. They face the wrath of the masses.
And ok so you think voting in an Opposition will make it better? You think a Worker’s Party Minister of Transport will make it better for you?
I tell you: NO.
Just like a Worker’s Party town council isn’t going to lower your SC&C charges, or not send lawyers after you for arrears, as Aljunied GRC is now learning.
A Workers Party Minister of Transport will NOT lower your bus and MRT fares. Why? The business model of SMRT and SBS is what it is. Look at their annual reports – their profit margins for the fare services are dropping every year. Yes they make profits, which are in numbers that are large to a normal person. But these are BUSINESSES and a business goes on Return on Investment, and nobody will invest in a company whose profit margins drop year on year.
An Opposition Transport Minister will have to deal with the same COLD HARD FINANCIALS.
So Nationalise it you say? Sure – what is the plan?
How much will Nationalisation cost taxpayers? It will cost BILLIONS just to nationalise it.
And it will cost even MORE money from taxpayers to then keep it going, to pay salaries, maintain the trains etc.
And if trains are run on COST in a nationalised system, then there are no PROFITS. If there are no profits, how will the train and bus system invest in upgraded service?
Even MORE taxpayers money.
Higher taxes or higher fares? They are two sides of the same coin.
Whether it is the PAP or the Opposition, these business and financial facts will remain EXACTLY THE SAME.
So the grass may seem greener on the other side, but I tell you, many times when you actually do get to the other side, you find hay. Not grass.
It is important that we share these truths.
Former-NMP Calvin Cheng