Deregulate Singapore's Public Transport Industry

Singaporean commuters are faced with an unyielding dilemma: public transport is atrocious, and yet private transport is not massively affordable. Buses are infrequent, late, and crumbling. The MRT suffers most from infrequent services, but also, more could be done to expedite the construction of new lines. The duopoly of SMRT and SBS is made worse by that they both have their own turfs - satellite towns are largely serviced by only one of the operators. As such, there is no real incentive for either to really attend to us commuters. Deregulation would force the incumbent operators to get back on their feet. There are better ways to raise revenue than simply increasing fares - the simplest being to exploit heavy human traffic at transit points with retail rental. A cursory tour of bus terminals here would be suffice to tell that neither operators are taking up the challenge. Changi Airport should be taken as a role model for the two operators - more than half of its revenue comes from retail income. There are also far easier ways than introducing overpriced "premium" services to pull commuters back on board from their cars; one of which would be to simply provide ALL bus arrival timings and route maps. This would reduce uncertainty on the commuter's side, and help save much time. Many cities in the world already provide such basic information. Both ideas have been expressed before by other irate commuters. I am of the opinion that the public transport operators here are slow to respond to commuters needs as they are still able to preserve and add shareholder value. Instead of focussing on improving local services, they set their sights on overseas expansion, which seems so much more prestigious and lucrative. I implore local authorities to wise up to our transport quandary, and to effect policy changes that would serve the commuter better than the shareholders.

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