public transport - maximise profit or maximise use

The article by T Rajan in the Straits Times on public transport provides a lot of fruits for thoughts. First point is that public transport operators are not happy that at peak period the trains and buses are only 80% full. Imagine if they are 100% full. What a joke! Would those who expect a 100% full trains and buses be willing to ride on them as their preferred mode of transport? Is a world class transport meant to be that way? And hey, even with the under utilisation the profits are quite handsome and they shouldn't be complaining, should they? Another point is this obsession to push for a 70% usage of public transport. Why shouldn't the current 50% be a good way of life? If our road system is able to cope, isn't it desirable for a better quality of life for more people to be able to drive their own cars? In the future it can be a different issue when the roads are so congested because of our 8 million population dream. Then there is this issue of season passes. It was quoted that the common practice for season passes is to price it with a 50% discount. And for a yearly pass, the discount is even more. Now, how much discount is our $98 season pass? We need to develop a world class public transport with the objective of serving the commuters at the cheapest cost possible and not to maximise profits for the operators and at the discomfort of commuters. There was a comment in the article that people choose to take public transport because it is fast and efficient, and comfortable? I did not read this last word. But travelling in a world class public transport cannot be uncomfortable or be squeesed like packed sardines, that's for sure.


gecko said...

Will you believe me that the people at the top have had those thoughts cross their minds? But their actions will not follow their thoughts because the key decision makers do not take public transport - they drive. Would they understand the peak hour frustration? Would they see the light that 50% to 70% usage is actually a good capacity to reach and not exceed?

No. These are privatised companies we are talking about. The management's only objective is to increase shareholder profit. All the talk about making public transport comfortable and affordable is lip-service. I will be surprised if anyone in the higher echelon takes the brave step of returning SMRT and SBS Transit to true government public service holdings.

I am not against generating profit. Since they wish to be a profit-generating company, then they must bow to the demands of the commuters who line their very pockets. Unfortunately, we all know how this nation's people is unable to take effective action to make their protests known.

Anonymous said...

Under the current system the most important consideration is the shareholders profit. Discomfort of users comes way down on the list of importance.

If you think that they care for the end users then you must be so naive. If the CEO does not do a good job then he cannot be a good CEO and will be replaced. To do a good job means he must show profit, not more comfortable and happy end users.

redbean said...

come on you whiners, what is a little squeeze in a world class transport train or bus? ok, once in a while i will give you a lift in my chauffer driven merz to let you share a bit of what swiss standard of living is like.

i have a little discussion with robertteh on this same topic in my forum on cost of living.

gecko said...

yes redbean, on second thought, i think we should. we need to stop whining and complaining and start working together with our establishment for the betterment of our country.

where do i sign up?

redbean said...

give me your biodata and let me input into my computer first. don't worry, 36 schemes. you must be eligible for one of them. but whether you are qualified or not, wait for my computer printout.

this will be sent to you by post. no signature required.