Here's WP's Eric Tan describing the idea at a rally speech in Bedok. The part on transport is 16 minutes into the video:
Link]. Recently, the LTA announced that it will finance part of $900M cost to upgrade the required to upgrade the SMRT system. Analysts believe that the upgrade will strain SMRT's financial health unless LTA finance a significant part of the $900M. It is always controversial for govt to inject money into private companies that are still paying dividends to shareholders. How do we account for this money? How much profit should the transport companies be allowed to make after receiving govt funding?
The $1.,1B to be used for buying buses is double the entire capitalization of SBS Transit of $521M. The govt can buy the entire bus company privatize it and still have some spare.change.
Link] $36M translate to $500 more per month for each bus driver.
Once our public transport system was privatized, there is a limit to the amount influence the govt has over it. There is a limit to the improvement in service quality because private companies have to take care of the bottom line and govt cannot just inject money into them to improve the service quality. The primary purpose of privatization was to improve efficiency however much of the efficiency is gained within the 1st few years of privatization by cutting waste -after that, the disadvantages of privatization start to emerge.
Going forward, the govt can't just keep injecting money into these private companies to ensure they maintain their service standards and don't falter with poor maintenance. Just maintaining basic service quality at acceptable levels won't give us the big leap in improvement in quality of life we want to be able to look forward to as Singaporeans. Re-nationalization is one approach worth considering and it is far more workable than the current setup in which govt depend on private for-profit companies to deliver and have limited control over them when they don't.