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9/13/2008

Road to a better transport system

Without fail, whenever there is a fare hike, the message is always about an improvement in the service and quality of the transport system. If every time it becomes better, we would have been better by 10 or 20 times over the years. This time the good thing is that the message is only about a better transport system and not about a world class transport system. What's the difference? A better transport system means you have to pay a bit better to get the better system. A world class transport system means you would have to pay world class fare. I hope it will be kept that way. A better system should be good enough. Hong Lim Park should be busy this evening with The Online Citizen making an appearance to talk about our transport system. I hope they will do a comparison of the quality and service of the transport system 20 years ago and what it is now and look at the difference in the fare over the same period. Are the increases in fare deserving of the improvement in service and quality? Another area they may want to look into is the land and infrastructure cost of the train system. How much land were given to SMRT and at what cost, and how much were invested in the infrastructure? And were these returned to the state or people or did they just become the asset of the current shareholders? The issue of public transport as a national service and not just a private business to generate profit to shareholders must be the key issue to be thrashed out. Why should an essential service that can cripple the whole economy be privatised just for profit? Or would it be better to operate under a different premise, to facilitate freer and cheaper movement of people which will benefit the whole economy? Should the system be returned to the state as a statutory board and the bull concept that only privatisation can make it more efficient and effective be dismissed? Would the activities at Hong Lim Park resulted in more revelations of what our transport system is all about or would it be another roadside selling 'koyote' session?

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