Singaporeans are getting richer, not taking public transport

SMRT announced that it had made the first loss after years of profit making to the tune of $86m in FY2018. Among the reasons given for the loss were “higher maintenance staff costs, parts and material costs, depreciation of rail assets and other rail maintenance related operating expenses.” And another big item, falling ridership.

Operating expenses gone up from $785m to $838m or up $53m. Revenue fell from $791m to $743m or down $48m. Squaring these two items would see a loss of $101m ($53m + $48m). To end up with a net loss of $86m would mean that there were profits coming from other non train operations like rentals or extraordinary items.

Let’s look at the numbers again. In 2017, revenue($791m) less expenses($785m) should give a profit $6m. Similarly for 2018, revenue($743m) less expenses($838m) should give a loss of $95m. Presumably these numbers did not include other non train operations. But this is not true given the data in the above paragraph that show a difference of $15m ($101-$86m). In 2017, SMRT declared an after tax profit of $26m, thus saying the non train operation profit was $20m. Extrapolating the data, non train operation profit also fell from $20m to $15m.

Data can be very confusing indeed.

Another interesting number is that SMRT made $81m after tax profit in 2016, $26m after tax profit in 2017 and now $86m loss in 2018. What contributed to the big turnaround in numbers? Falling ridership? High maintenance expenses?

What is surprising is the announcement of falling ridership despite the population rising every month and moving towards the 6.9m number. Why the rise in population did not turn into more ridership? Perhaps the new citizens and immigrants were of the rich type, the millionaires or billionaires, so they did not take public transport. But his is unlikely the case given that most of the new arrivals were poor jobless third world type coming here to steal the jobs of citizens. So they were more likely to take public transport than buying private cars that cost a bomb that many Singaporeans too could not afford.

Then again this could be untrue and could point to the fact that Singaporeans were getting richer and so could afford private cars and thus no need to take public transport.

The other possibility was that the cost of private transport had gone up so much while income fell as more and more Singaporeans became unemployed or underemployed and thus could not afford to take public transport. Thus ridership of public transport like trains fell accordingly.

But then again, given the number of happy and contented Singaporeans posting how happy they were with their lives and incomes, I must conclude that more Singaporeans are getting richer and going back to take private transport instead of public transport.

Or could it be due to the pervasive influx of bicycle sharing companies that Singaporeans were taking to bicycles or Grabs and Ubers? When one becomes a Grab or Uber one actually has the privilege of owning a private car to move around.

What do you think?


Anonymous said...

Sinkies getting rich? Not really Lah. They r unhappy with the aSsmrt breakdowns Lah, things like signal fault, track fault, delay here there, start train service later in wkend for maintenance work etc all these contributed to the inconvenience of taking the pubic trains. Many lament the reliability so much so that they had to book a Grab cars to go to work or be scolded by their foreigners talents bosses or be sacked. The older workers no monies will choose to work nearby to save on transport or choose companies with nearby transport etc, its a typical system of failures on the govt policies & bziness methodology.

Anonymous said...

Motor biking, cycling n walking lah; cheaper. So more cycling accidents. Almost every aspects of Sinkie lives have been squeezed by extreme greed n extreme costs of a money mad garment profiteering from monopolistic pricing n unbridled power. They gained with astronomical compensation n financial opportunities from public service. Chek Arc!

b said...

Many sinkies have to work uber or grab to substain a living besides a day job. Only the super self serving ministers are getting richer.

Anonymous said...

All essentials up..water, gas, carpark, school fees, transport, conservancy, ....you tell me only one group richer while all other poorer lah....Blood sucker Gp in White with hypocrisy written on their heads.

Anonymous said...

This deception of expensing lots of capital expenditures as operating costs is a key trick of this garment to justify charging citizens lots of inflated fees. But land is owned by law n garment wash hands of funding infrastructure costs. So all the billions n billions can be used for Jinx, loongiegiela, pappie generals to buy high sell low rubbing shoulders with global big guns like goldman octpusses. Sillytizens taken for a ride for a long long time already.

Anonymous said...

With trade war starting the govt should be trying to lower costs for citizens n business costs for our entreprises but this out of touch not only with citizens but global business n economic realities paper generals are hiking prices like there is no tommorrow. Indeed "stupity n folly plus pride have no cure". Too much easy money in tbeir pockets have blinded them indeed.

Adam Of Eve said...

The ridership of MRT train's went down mainly because of two reasons:

1. Reliability.
2. Frequent stoppages.

Reliability on the trains has taken a beating because of the long years of the Authorities inability to rein in the errant MRT operators and management, because of cronyism. Trust have been shakened. Would you like your boss to keep asking why are you late to work? And would it be silly to keep replying to your boss that you were late because the trains breakdown? "Don't you have any initiative?" your boss will tell you off sarcastically one day.

The frequency of trains breakdown, stoppages and maintenance issues definitely cut down the time the trains are operating. Correspondingly, the ridership is reduced. This is common sense. In the service industry, every hour you downtime, you lose customers.

Elementary, Dr Watson!

Anonymous said...

You are all (both the 70% and 30%) dealing with a bunch of people without the 5 C's.:

1. Conscience.
2. Compassion.
3. Competence.
4. Care and concerns.
5. Common sense.

In their eagerness to chase the 5 C's of materialism, they defiled their heart and lost their soul.

The Days of Shamelessness and Infamy are here to stay!

Good luck, Sinkies!

Virgo49 said...

What's losses?? These are the overdue budgets figures for maintenance of the Rails and Trains for the past donkey years that they have not fork out as essentials.

All the while profits and thus extra for their pockets.

Expect more "losses" for the past maintenance budgets that the ailing unmaintance systems is suffering.

Anonymous said...

Treat citizens as fools, treat public funds recklessly for themselves.

Anonymous said...

Treat citizens as fools, Treat public funds recklessly,
Make themselves as kings,
Exploit citizens' money mercilessly.

What kind of people are they? Are they still human?

Virgo49 said...

Sinkies are just too daft and equally have to share the blame.

Many are just too materialistic and blind and naive worse than the Third World Trashes and they pride themselves to be highly educated and well informed.

Why the Government imposed the just what's ABSD ???

It's because they are aware of the future enconmy is sliding down the steep slope of recession and depression.

Many still thinks that Rosy times is still around and rush to beat the deadline.This already shown that many have not enough resources to buy these properties.

Worse, many out of greed purchase for investments. In record time we be seeing more sky divings at MBS.

Even flooded the cars show rooms just because the COE for smaller cars is at 25K.

25K can be an average wage earner annual salary. Some even don't.

Wait for more fire sales in the future. Just buy your choosen last 4D digits Big Sweep and wait for the outcome.

Virgo49 said...

Just read Today Straits Times of what Mr Christopher Tan wrote of "Making Sense of SMRT's Trains losses"

That quotation: That loss is not unexpected, given that the company has been spending more resources on repairs, maintenance and upgrading works- most of which should have been started more than a decade earlier.

If these efforts had been better spread out in the first place, the operator is unlikely to find itself in this financial state"

That's said it all.

Anonymous said...

Sinkies are using bus 11 lar that is their own two legs for transport

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Sinkies just love their government to keep increasing taxes, introducing nex taxes, increase levies, increase prices of essential goids and services, increase compulsory insurance premiums, increase HDB prices, increase loans' monthly interests, increase parking fees, increase parking fines, increase petrol prices, increase ERP charges, increase COE, increase CPF withdrawal age, increase minimum sum, increase CPF contributions, increase GST, increase munisters" salary and bonuses, and uncrease population by importing more foreigners.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

If Sinkies know that their govt is short of money, they will willing pay for all the tax hikes to help their govt.

Anonymous said...

If Sinkies know that their govt is short of money, they will vote them out & asked for their monies back, such is the kiasu syndrome of SinkapoLang, but on the other hand they r kiasi & kan lan vote them in to raid their reserves, its so pathetic in Sinkieland.

Anonymous said...

What do I think?

Three words - pay and pay!

Three other words - pay until broke.

Another three words - die your business.

Anonymous said...

SMRT Trains incurred a$86 million loss, but is its parent company SMRT Corp incurring losses?

"This information is not public, since the group is no longer listed. The company has not published its group financials, but instead readily publicised its Trains numbers. When asked if SMRT Corp was profitable last year, the company remained mum.

But going by past records, it is highly unlikely that SMRT Corp had slipped into the red. In its FY2016 results - the last group financials available after it delisted in October 2016 - SMRT Corp reported an operating profit of $142.6 million. Out of that, $135.2 million was from non-rail businesses, with rental accounting for $83.4 million.

This situation would not have changed much. Rental is not affected by maintenance cost, drop in ridership or fare adjustments.

So in all likelihood, SMRT Corp on the whole is still very much in the black, even if its rail operations had slipped into the red." - ST Christopher Tan

Anonymous said...

How to make money if your train breaks down so regularly?

Anonymous said...

What can be deduced now, from what the SMRT willingly published anx what it deliberately refused to publish, is that SMRT's present management is not forthright with the public. Therefore, the public can only have a glimpse of its interenal problems and secrets. As such, their wirds should not be taken at face value. In other words, DON'T TRUST THEM.

Anonymous said...

What lead to the increase in expenses of $53 million?

Was the loss in ridership the result of train breakdowns and rail closures pushing commuters onto buses instead, or as what RB said due to Singaporeans being richer and having cars of their own, which I think is unlikely.

Sometimes it is what is not disclosed that tells the true story. We have hundreds of billions in reserves, but the PAP said that the Government needed more taxes because it needs the money. What is the true reason?

Anonymous said...

Selective information that does not correctly verify the actual picture, but used as propaganda to serve garment self interests.

Anonymous said...

In others, frankly speaking, for goodness sake, the days of truthfulnees and trustworthiness are gone.

The days of half-truths, deception, fake news, propaganda, indoctrination, brain-washing and outright lies are here to stay.

This is the result of having people who are too smart for the good of the voters who voted for them to represent you, but instead of representing you and speak out on your behalf, these scoundrels turn around and represent their own self-interests by speaking down unto you, belittle you and condemn you in various different terms, such as "lazy", "quitter", "choosy", "free-loader", "dogs", "horses", "stupid", "clutch-mentality", "spineless", "entitled syndrome", and other downright degrading adjectives.

It clearly shows, overall, that they don't care a shit what you think and how you feel.

They clearly don't respect you as fellow human beans.

They think they have made it to the Millionaires Club. They think that they have arrived.

They think they should not dirty their hands to help you or foul their mouths to speak on your behalf.

Their yearly bonus by the $millions is of paramount importance now. Not you. Not your vote even. Why?

Because the new citizens plus those beholden cronies and minions are sufficient to give them at least 60% of votes in any election.

That's why they can afford to be arrogant, ruthless, merciless, blatantly con you in broad daylight and trample upon you again and again.

In short, you are all screwed. You have asked and even begged them to screw you good and proper.

Bottom line:


Ⓜatilah $ingapura⚠️ said...

If they are making a loss, they are probably not charging enough.

Public transport charges in Singapore are laughingly cheap. In Perth I hate to drive into the city. Fucking 40-50 kph speed limit, expensive parking...fuck that shit. So I take bus/train..whatever. In and out of town now costs AUD 10...by bus and/or train. I do the same distance by bus-train combination for less than ONE THIRD of that when I am in Singapore.

I also take my 26kg electric mountain bike (29" wheel) onto the train in Perth, so I can ride around the city/ Fremantle. In Singapore they only allow fucking dwarf bikes on the train, and LTA's electric bike regulations is "fuck-spider lah"...bloody assholes. Speed-limited, small anaemic motor, 20 kg limit on electric bikes....but...

...the fares on SMRT: too cheep cheep lah! (lose money leh!!)

Ⓜatilah $ingapura⚠️ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ⓜatilah $ingapura⚠️ said...


If you look for correlations in the data...you will probably find the use of RIDESHARE will be growing as the revenues from public transport will decline. This might be inversely correlated...BUT... it could be coincidental, not necessarily causal....but it probably is causal (not a hard inference to make lah).

The inverse correlation appears in public transport data: on trains and buses, the revenue is a decreasing trend. But the use of rideshare (3 rideshare platforms operate in Perth) is definitely growing. The difference is most public transport western cuntires run at a loss, and it is perfectly acceptable...but oh no, not in Singapore. In "unique" Singapore, Public Goods are profit centers. (How's that working out?)

If you have 2 or more people going on a medium-distance trip, they get a much better deal on splitting the fare and taking rideshare, rather than being at the mercy of public transport. Singaporeans will do the calculus and pick rideshare when they can split the fare. You can bet on that.

People respond to incentives. People will buy back their time and pay for "convenience" if the price is right.

Anonymous said...

Matilah, you have omitted in your analysis that Singapore has much bigger population & critical mass than Perth in comparing the train fares. Singapore is a city and does not have to subsidized any rural areas unlike countries like Japan & Australia. City train lines can be very profitable, however countries like Japan & Australia charged higher train fares overall in order to subsidized the rural areas which are provided with train services with very low volume. Singapore has zero rural area. Zero subsidies needed. So overall fares can be much lower than Perth or Tokyo.

Anonymous said...

Don't fall for anyone who pick and choose to compare one country with (for or against) another. All comparisons must take into consideration the totality of each country, not just a single aspect like train fares alone, because there are bound to havd interrelated or interlinked factors and unseen permutations in the background no single comparison is able to do justice with anythung. Only fools fall for such selectivs amateurish tricks.

Ⓜatilah $ingapura⚠️ said...

@ anons 1203 & 1250

Appreciate the responses and feedback. I'm not writing a term paper or conducting policy research here. So I myself am aware of the gaping holes in my comments, which are by my own admission not even close to being "exhaustive".

I'm giving a one man's view...heavily biased and subjective. I don't like to drive into the city (any city---they're all crowded and "car unfriendly" now), and love hopping onto trains...accompanied by a full sized, heavy and powerful electric bike if possible.

BTW, I have said before: SMRT should sell the business to one of the Japanese rail operators, or Hong Kong Metro. Those folks would do a much better job than SMRT...and talk a lot less cock, and make a lot less stupid excuses more akin to what schoolchildren would say, not expensively-educated senior executives on even more expensive salary packages.

One of LTAs better decisions was to hand over Singapore bus services to Tower Transit...the people who've been running the buses in the UK for yonks. They also operate the buses in Aussie cities, Perth being one.

So give it up SMRT...Singapore is a meritocracy. If you're doing a fucked up job, hand over to the REAL PEOPLE who can do a better job delivering better QUALITY of service.

Walk the talk, sg.gov...D'ya think you can do that?

Anonymous said...

Why compare with Australian city with a basic wage that is equivalent to our executive wage and not with cities in countries where for a dollar you can travel anywhere you like?

Anonymous said...

Matilah good morning. Thank you for your revised objective humility. Govt officials esp paper generals maketh lousy business executives n honchos. Command n controlled trained people are understandaly lousy in dynamic market environment. Spore major screwed up in critical human resource allocation is too many top positioned yes men still want to said yes to an Old man n his Son being the top among equal myth that paper scholars are the best n multi skilled n multi talents n can n should be parachuted into top positions across all sectors of the nation. Of course it is a deception n an unsubstantiated self justifying n self enriching myth in practice with terrible long term consequences.

Ⓜatilah $ingapura⚠️ said...

@ 1036:

U- R right. Hopeless ex-soldiers trying to do free market shit.

Singapore govt's biggest flaw: they think that PAP-style 'authority' can control the market. Govt job is to run the cuntry. Leave business to the bloody private sector lah.