A transport fee hike by any other name

(Image credit)

…Is still a transport fee hike.

Of course, the authorities just chose not to name it that. Instead, they are calling it fee reduction, which they tried to justify by issuing a very confusing press release (it was, as some would say, Topsy-Turvy Maths Day).

This, even though 2/3 of the commuters may pay less, and 1/3 of the will definitely pay more.

And all the printed daily newspapers are hailing this wonderful fee increase reduction; understandably so since all of the newspapers printed daily are owned by the government.

Wonderful place to live in, isn’t it this country?

The Public Transport Council – of which the word Public in its name doesn’t at all refer to who it represents – tried to explain the justification of its hikes. Under the misleading headline “New fare policy is fairer, says transport council,” it failed miserably at outsmarting even a parrot. Unsurprising.

Under the current fare structure, commuters who make transfers must pay more than those who travel the same distance via a direct journey. In effect, those who make transfers pay a ‘transfer penalty’ that cross-subsidises those who make direct journeys. With distance fares, all commuters will pay based on the total distance travelled, regardless of the number of transfers made during the journey. In other words, commuters who make transfers will no longer be penalised by having to cross-subsidise direct journeys. This is a fairer approach.

Even though some commuters may find that they do not benefit from distance fares immediately, the travel patterns of all commuters may change over time as people change their homes and places of work and new MRT lines are built. The new fare structure will therefore benefit all commuters as they will have greater travel options that include transfer journeys when their travel patterns change in future.

There you go. The current fee hikes, scheduled to take effect in three month’s time, won’t benefit the public as yet. They will however, benefit from it when they move, change their job, and when new MRT lines are built. In short, years and years ahead.

$o if the people can’t benefit from these change$ immediately, why implement these confu$ing change$ now?



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