Monday, July 05, 2010

Was it just a fare increase....?

Update : Many people I ask aren't sure if they are actually paying more. I have found a way to check and compare the old fares and new:

I did a few sample checks and found that if you have no transfers, you always pay more under the new structure. If you have 1 transfer, you sometimes pay less. But the increase can be as big as 10-15% for certain trips- this is huge because previous increases were 1-2% and commuters took issue with those hikes. For those who have to pay more, this fare hike is probably the biggest one in their lifetime!

Did commuters asked for the fare structure to be changed? No. This was a move introduced by LTA and the public transport operators.. Under the new structure, they eliminated the penalty for transferring to another bus but increase the fare for single bus trips for various distances. This makes it hard to figure out if you'll end up paying more or less from this new structure. However, if you have a direct bus and do no transfer, you will almost certainly end up paying more. Many people I asked who have one transfer still end up paying more. So you need multiple transfers to benefit from the new fare structure. The publicity posters and booklets only show positive examples of people saving money:

"The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has said that under the new system, one in three commuters would see a fare increase" - CNA[Link]

I'll tell you why this new structure simply makes no sense. Firstly, it makes people pay more for the same distance if they do not need multiple transfers. What it does is reduce the penalty for multiple transfers which shouldn't have been there in the first place - this incentivise people to make transfers to cut down on distance. However, it is NOT DISTANCE BUT TIME that is more important. Very often the distance gains you make transferring from one bus to another is easily lost due to waiting time. It is rare to gain any time by transferring twice when you have a direct bus - yet it is only in these multiple transfer trips that the new fare is cheaper . The new structure penalises those with direct buses by raising the fares for such trips....and may incentivise people to make time wasting multiple transfers to save money. If they genuinely wanted to encourage people to save time, they should have simply eliminated the transfer penalty and keep the other parts of the fare structure the same. It is time not distance that is important to the commuter and they have started off with the wrong basis for the new fare structure.....and the more cynical people asking if this is simply a scheme to raise the revenue and profits of the public transport companies.


Some say bus fares up 40% after new calculation [Link]

By Liang Kaixin/Sharon See Posted: 05 July 2010 2101 hrs

SINGAPORE: Monday was the first work-day after the public transport operators started calculating bus fares based on distance travelled on 3 July.

Those travelling to Malaysia by bus were in for a surprise.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has said that under the new system, one in three commuters would see a fare increase.

For those affected, LTA estimates the average weekly fare rise to be about 30 cents per commuter.

However some commuters have called the Channel NewsAsia hotline, saying the fare for the journey from Kranji MRT Station to Johor is up by 40 percent - from $1 to $1.40.

This has affected many who are working or studying in Singapore, as they are also not allowed to cross the Causeway on foot.

Meanwhile, private bus operators said they have not seen an increase in customers because "many commuters may not have realised that bus fares are higher now".

- CNA/ir


Anonymous said...

it's no surprise that there's no one from the 2/3 majority who's benefited from this new "increase"...

Anonymous said...

What can commuters do even if they know their fares have gone higher?
Take it or leave it, right?


Anonymous said...

I have a feeling:

1. They want us to take the trains.
But they have no idea how populated the trains are these days.

2. They are probably hoping that lesser bus services are used so that they might cut buses from roads in the future? Maybe? Is it because some ministers just bought a new lamborghini?

3. They just want to earn more money from people who do not have to make any transfers. They have already talked about culling long distance buses...which makes me think about #1. They want all of us to populate the trains.

Anonymous said...

i am not sure know how many commuters will actually benefit from this revision.

with the revise fares structure, i end up paying 7.5% more per trip and 11% for an express bus.

they increase our fare so that they can increase their profit margin and ultimately justify higher salary and bonus.

Lucky Tan said...

anon 10:44,

On your point that they want us to take those sardine packed train implementing this fare structure....hmmm very interesting, still got space, have not reached crush load yet.

That they want us to take trains whose capacity cannot be inreased according to CEO Saw is a very intereting thought.

Anonymous said...

Maybe lemon Lim can follow Hairdo Lim by telling commuters to save on hairdo to offset transport fare hike

Anonymous said...

I just read on Today paper business page that Carrefour will be pulling out of Singapore soon. I had expect this to happen sooner or later as our island are dominated by NTUC & soon Sheng Siong will also be a big player in the supermarket scene.

Anonymous said...

This is a made-up scheme to increase the fares but under the guise of being a fairer way of charging passengers. Like a sugar coated pill to fool children to swallow bitter medicine. Indeed the fare increase is bitter and daft Singaporeans will swallow this story. This is how the government treat it's citizens, life daft children. They tell you fables like increasing the median income by year 2020, do not expect floods to go away, etc. I know what to do in the coming elections for I am really pissed off.

Anonymous said...

My transport fares increased by 1 cent per trip commuting to & fro work. Luckily, it was not as drastic like some people who claims an increase of 30 - 40%. At the most, I will stay at home on alternate weekends & not go out. This should save me some money.

Anonymous said...

Singaporeans are getting more & more fcuked daily because PAPpies are more interested in squeezing money from ordinary people.

Taking public transport as a good example, when govt "privatised" it 25 years ago, it absolutely refused to allow real free market competition. Instead the PAPpies still want to control the profits while BSing the citizens that they will enjoy better benefits due to "privatising". Just look at the public transport companies in Singapore -- SMRT, SBS Transit & Comfort Delgro -- who owns more than 50% of their stocks? It is PAPpies and Temasek Holdings. If the govt had allowed open competition, today we will be enjoying better standards at a cheaper price --- take a look at HK.

That's why I get mad whenever LKY or other PAPpies can appear on TV and say with straight face that these are not govt entities, that they are publicly traded companies you can buy shares of. BULLSHIT if they are more than 50% owned by govt and have ministers sitting on their boards and happily work hand-in-glove with govt committees like PTC. This is blatant crony capitalism and corrupted capitalism.

This bastard attitude of PAPpies to squeeze blood & money from Singaporeans can also be seen in other areas like healthcare -- so-called "corporatisation" of SingHealth & NHG -- and the continued PAPpies-owned monopoly of SP Services while selling off all our power-generating companies to foreigners. They are only simply interested in getting more & more money into their own pockets. As for the rest of us? You Die Your Business!!

Anonymous said...

My fare used to be 87 cents (one MRT ride followed by a transfer to a bus). Now it is $1.01 - an increase of 14 cents or 16%! My elderly mom's fare has also increase, because she now has to pay a distance-based fare instead of a flat fare. I don't see how the LTA or PTC can say that this is a lowering of transport fares by 2.5%.


Anonymous said...

Friends and colleagues arround me, non of them has enjoyed the saving. Isn't 2/3 or more majority sufferred from this new instructure? How the computation of "2/3 majority would have benefited" derise from?

Anonymous said...

It reminds me of how Minibond etc. were sold. They said it is good for you! :-(

Anonymous said...

efficient market hypothesis:

Just look at smrt share price

Anonymous said...

If you want to people to accept something painful, just make sure you confuse them enough with complex formulas so that they have no way to get good evidence to refute your assertion.

Then whip out some distorted statistics to deny their feelings or empirical observations.

In the end, since you are the sole provider of the service, they'll just have to shut up and suffer in silence.

This strategy has been used before by transport companies where some commuters benefitted and some lost out.

They know that there is no way a single commuter can see the whole picture.

Since only the transport company has combined statistics of the ridership, and it is not in their commercial interest to divulge the full picture to commuters, individuals have no say against any possible profiteering by a crooked transport company.

Again, as always, expect SMRT's profit after tax for this year to be another record-breaking one.

Anonymous said...

Not surprised.

It is almost a certainty that policy-makers for public transport are exclusively car drivers.

PTUI said...

that's so true. a neighbour just explained to me how he tried to find a route that involved at least one transfer. he din mind if the new route meant slightly more waiting time.

this is siao. now we will have a nation of bus-riders travelling extra time just to make at least one transfer. how efficient!!!

Anonymous said...

definitely a rise. I now pay 12cents higher. :(

Anonymous said...

I really hope the opposition is paying attention...This may be the silver bullet that the opposition can use to bring down the blood $$$ucking white vampire this coming election.

Cindy & Dingo said...

I have never for once believe in that bullcrap of 1/3 paying more. A leopard will never change its spots...all they seek are higher profit. What they have done in the past is a good enough example

-milo- said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

i have blogged about it before july 3 by comparing some of the trips i've made. ( or you can do a search on the blog for "distance-based". the fact remains that you need to be ultra careful about the kind of trips you make, especially the ultra short and ultra long ... See Moredistances, cos it's highly likely that you will end up paying more. senior citizens fare, if you travel within 5.2km, you will end up the same or pay less, if not, you will definitely pay more. that's the game now.

Anonymous said...

Raising GST is to help the poor.

Paying millions is to ensure we get talents.

Distance based fares is to make thing fairer and cheaper.

But if cannot achieve the above, so what?

Because the peasants have no choice what and maybe not even a vote despite "free and democratic" elections.

the cat said...

When I was a poor student, I looked at how I could reduce transport costs, and I realized the following.

Under the old system, you paid the lowest fare by:
1. Minimizing the number of transfers.
2. Taking the shortest route.

I have not done a careful study yet, but under this new system, you pay the lowest fare by

1. Taking the shortest route, regardless of the number of transfers you make.

Also, under both the new and old system, you can still minimize your bus fare by running errands quickly, if you have two or more different bus routes that go to the same destination. The idea is to make use of the time allowed for transfer.

For Example
Take Bus 1 to the market, and do your shopping in 30 mins or less.
Take Bus 2 home.

Do your sums and you'll find that you pay less this way.

the cat said...

Based on your updated link, the shortest fare from AMK to Bedok is by the most direct bus route, which is No 25, for $1.45.

In short, to pay the lowest fares with the current system, find the shortest route between your origin and destination!

Anonymous said...

my morning trip to amk increase from 69c to INCREASE of 12c or 17%.
My evening trip INCREASE from 119c to 131c, another INCREASE of 12c or 10%!!!! F**k.
Same old trip but different HIGH FARE! Where is the benefit???

Anonymous said...

Last Friday, a particular bus ride cost me S$1.95.

Today, the same bus ride cost me S$2.09.

So where's the savings?

Suckered Citizen.

Huang HW said...

This fare re-structure is to support the reorganization of bus routes to shorter runs. The bus operator benefits by being able to reduce the number of buses servicing each route until they are just full all the time. This cannot be done in long bus routes because the number of buses must be at the point where it is just full (or slightly overloaded) during the most crowded part of the route. This will leave the bus relatively empty on the less busy part of the route. A waste of resources!

However, if they re-organise to shorter routes, then commuters will have to make more transfers to get to their destination. Thus, the fare structure must be such that there is no penalty for transfers.

Brilliant move to optimize the use of transport resources.

How about giving some thoughts to optimizing the comfort and time spent on transport of commuters?

Huang HW said...

Adding to my post earlier.

Those complaining about this restructure as a disguised price increasing might be missing an even BIGGER problem that will happen in the very near future.

The bus routes will be split into much shorter routes and ALL commuters will end up spending much more time getting from point A to point B; with the increased time spent changing buses to get to any destination.

By all means compare bus fares before and after the fare structure and flag it as unfair if you find that the average fare for most people is higher. However, be even more afraid of what is coming next!

Anonymous said...

seems like hell lot of ppl are pissed over this distance fare issue. someone should organize a protest at speakers corner - a first protest aimed at a government policy - hows that for political awakening?!

Anonymous said...

The fare revision is definitely sugar coated poison.

Now ALL my journeys cost MORE, from 6 cents to 24 cents.

My wife and I were going home after dinner, and we looked at the revised bus fare... the lowest fare has been raised to 71 cents even if we rode across 2 bus stops. Needless to say we chose to walk.

Since they're hyping all about 'distance fares' why aren't PAP's greedy bus companies doing away with 'block' fares and going towards more granular distance fares according to bus stops?

Surely with all that high tech distance computation and GPS systems they CAN charge $0.10 for commuters who need to take short trips but charge $1.20 for longer journeys!

Obviously the greedy bus companies are only interested in maximizing profit by screwing people who take shorter trips!

Clear eyed said...

So that's what they do, these super talented elites and scholars - spending all their time, energy and elephantine brain power to think of ways and means to squeeze every last cent and drop of blood from the peasants! Brilliant, just too brilliant for their own good.

Anonymous said...

Vote for Cheaper fares !

Anonymous said...

Thanks for being so efficient. However, being kiasu, I already started recording the fares I am paying for places that I usually goes to when the annoncement was made for the new fare system to be launched. After the new system starts, I just need to calculate again to find out whether I am paying more or less.

Anonymous said...

This is how it works. Think of the total revenue as a betting pool. Reducing fares will reduce the pool so is a no no. So what is needed is "divide and conquer" - some in the pool will have to contribute more, some less. Highlight the part where some will get less and do a media spin on fare reduction. If those who are paying more make noise, spin it as one group pitting another group sowing disharmony. Meanwhile the pool sum stays the same if not more due to the actual fare increase. The ones managing the pool does not need to come out a cent, they may even get to skim off some commission.

There you go. Does not need a scholar to think up such a scheme. It is same as how the Compulsory Annuity works.

Anonymous said...

Regarding Distance Fares, 51 people have voted @

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cheaptrick said...

The old "transfer rebate" is now referred to as a "transfer penalty", and the new scheme takes away the transfer penalty.

A nice smokescreen, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

As a senior citizen, I normally have to pay 76 cents per trip before 3 July 2010. Now I have to pay 87 cents per trip for the same journeys that I make everyday. That is an increase of 14.5% for each trip.

I have to make two trips to work and two trips back home per day. That means I have to pay 44 cents more everyday, which equals to $13.20c per month, which is 1% of my take-home pay.

For long distance trip, I used to take service 858 from Woodlands Interchange to Changi Airport, which cost me $1.80 per trip but now it is $1.98, an increase of a solid 10% profits for the Bus Company from me.

I would like to ask Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong how are we senior citizens going to grow old gracefully when the govt keep finding ways to squeeze us year after year, without any respite or hope for a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel?

Do you think we senior citizens will continue to support the PAP?

Jane (another senior citizen) said...

Thank you Lucky for giving me this opportunity to voice my frustrations as a retired civil servant.
I used to pay 73cents to travel from Kovan MRT to Dhoby Ghuat. Now the fare is $1.05! That's definitely a hefty increase!
Sigh...thought this is the only privilege I could enjoy and yet this stupid heartless govt.has taken it off!
FYI Ms Cynthia Phua, you have already lost 1 vote from me and 3 from my family in the coming election! Many of the old folks in my estate are very angry with this unwarranted transport fare increase!
Another issue...You live in a beautiful house in Flower Road.As our MP, have you ever walk thru Kovan MRT once?? Just look at the pathetic condition of the station!Drabby, dirty flooring,leaking roof,etc! Hope you will do something about this soonest,MP!

Anonymous said...

Apart from one or two letters I saw in Today, there seems to be no feedback in the mass media on the increase in fares which most people have experienced. I wonder if the mass media have been instructed not to feature such letters.

juice said...

whenever you squeeze a squeezed lemon, you can usually still get at least a drop from it. crush load - needs to be tested physically in order to know it exists. said...

To my mind one and all must browse on it.

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