Minister Liu and PAP MP, Josephine Teo, have recently said that a govt operated public transport system based on cost recovery, as proposed by the Workers' Party, will result in inefficiencies that "will lead to higher costs, which will be borne by commuters, as well as a stagnation of service standards"[Link]. While there are many reasons to believe that govts can run public transport system well since there so many good examples, you better believe Minister Liu when he says he can't do it despite the PAP telling us they are an efficient govt - if he says the PAP govt can't operate the MRT more efficiently than Saw Phaik Hwa who had no prior experience running a transport company before she joined SMRT, you have to accept it. You cannot count on a solution to our transport system that depends on the PAP govt proving itself wrong.
Here is an interesting article: Why Taipei’s MRT trumps Singapore’s you should read. It compares the MRT systems of both countries. The Taipei MRT implemented safety doors for "above ground" stations years ago. It already has the "advanced"| signalling system that SMRT is implementing to allow greater frequency of trains to stations. It is run by the Taipei City Govt. Yes, it makes less profits than the SMRT but it delivers higher service quality. SMRT (+SBS Transit) which is profit oriented will hold back investments to improve service quality because it is a monopoly - passengers don't have other cost effective option.
Singaporeans are unhappy with the public transport system. The PAP govt has to find a way forward to up service quality to improve the quality of lives of Singaporeans while keeping the cost to commuters down - the income gap and stagnant wages among a large segment of the populace makes fare increase very unpopular as it is seen as an exercise to maintain the profitability of these companies. I would even go further than the Workers' Party's "cost recovery" model. If you can drastically improve the quality of life of Singaporeans by accepting some operational losses that can be recovered by using the massive gains in the COE system, you can create much more "net happiness" and lower the demand for cars...an aspiration that cannot be met for most families in Singapore. While such schemes using cross-subsidies violate PAP's ideology, the large income gap and stagnant wages breaks many of PAP's "self-reliant pay for yourself" schemes. The PAP has to overcome its ideological constraints to begin solving problems faced by Singaporeans otherwise they will face greater uncertainty in the next elections.