Fair Hike?

Lui Tuck Yew
In his Facebook page yesterday Lui Tuck Yew, our Minister of Transport, thanked the Public Transport Council as follows,

"I would like to thank the Public Transport Council (PTC) for working on the fare adjustment for 2013. I have no doubt that it was challenging as no fare increase is ever welcomed by commuters.

The PTC has struck a good balance by keeping the fare increase a few notches below the average wage increase in 2013 while enhancing concessions for a significant segment of commuters like the students, especially the Polytechnic students, NSFs, and providing new products like the unlimited travel monthly passes for senior citizens and for other adults. Overall, I believe this will continue to keep public transport affordable for Singaporeans.

This is the first time the Government is funding two fare concession schemes, for low wage workers (LWWs) and persons with disabilities (PWDs) which, from the start, will see close to half a million Singaporeans benefitting. As I had shared earlier, the LWW concessionary fare, with 15% discount off adult fares, will bring their public transport fares to price levels comparable to what they were paying 10 to 15 years ago. PWDs will get even greater discounts, of between 25% and over 50%. And for the general population who need assistance to meet the cost of public transport, we will have available more than twice the number of vouchers that were disbursed in 2011, and make these available all year round.

As these are new schemes, we are working very closely with partner agencies like MSF, MOM and CPF Board to ensure that the application process be made as fuss-free and smooth as possible. I expect we will encounter some hiccups along the way given that we are setting up the infrastructure and processes from scratch, and close to half a million Singaporeans may apply, and hence half a million personalised concession cards will have to be printed and mailed out. I hope that applicants will understand and I assure you we will try our best to get the concession cards to you as quickly as possible. We will provide more details of eligibility, how and when to apply, etc, in the next few weeks. 

Once again, my deepest thanks to the PTC for undertaking this difficult assignment."


Everyone was ranting about the fare hike last night so loud that I could even hear it in Perth, so I visited Tuck Yew's Facebook page to read what he had to say. He thanked the PTC twice, including a deepest one like the deep throat Singaporeans will have to perform for the transport companies from the 6th of April. I couldn't help wondering about the aptitude of Tuck Yew if he considered that assignment a truly difficult one as he claimed it was. It probably explained why he came out to peculiar solutions [read about the hilarious P.L.A.C.E policy] to solve the problems in his constituency.

Minister Lui just reminded me that our public transport fare hikes were pegged to national average wage increment. That meant that so long you have a wage increment, there will be fare hikes. So, smile sweetly at the sulky guy in the morning train. It wouldn't be too difficult to spot who received a pay raise last year and who didn't. Intelligent Singaporeans would understand that under the umbrella of such a wide income disparity in Singapore, the wage increment of a high earner would be the total wage increment of 20 medium wage earners or 100 of low wage earners. By taking a national average wage to peg it with fare hikes, most of us will be paying more than we should in the first place, so I don't buy Tuck Yew's claim that the PTC has kept the most recent fare increase by "a few notches below average wage increase" in 2013. We shouldn't even be paying for the people with astronomical wage increments who don't take public transport in the first place, such as Minister Lui and party members, his banker and high ranking military friends. Fair hike? So how about taking the average wage increase of the demographic who actually takes public transport before we talk about notches, Minister? 

Wait a minute, why are we even pegging wage increment to fare hikes? Does that mean SMRT and SBSTransit will receive a higher revenue this year not because of how they perform but how YOU perform at work? I suppose Singaporeans who rant at transport companies all the while for poor services will have to realise they are not the customers, but the workers of SMRT and SBS. Do you still wonder why they don't give a shit about your complains? Smell the coffee and know your place my friends. Work hard and get your pay increments so these folks will get their fare hikes. Fair hike?

Polytechnic students are finally recognised as students and not working adults. It took them half a century to realise that and you wondered why they couldn't spot a limping terrorist. Good news for the poly kias. I am shedding tears of joys for my Alma mater as well as my chao NSFs brothers. Tuck Yew also announced that the Government is funding concession schemes for low wage workers and folks with disabilities, citing half a million of Singaporeans will benefit from that alone. Good on ya, Tuck Yew but wait. It is disturbing to know half a million of Singaporeans fall under the poverty line that the Government stubbornly refused to draw. From the last GE2011, we know there are only slightly more than 2 million Singaporeans today. Half a million of LWWs and PWDs is 25% of us. Is that an alarming percentage? I'll leave you to decide. These 25% would hardly have enough wage increment (in net value) to offset the fare increments and had been overpaying throughout the years before this funding scheme. Fair hike? The Government's late move to provide funding for this group has turned an achievement to a saving grace. Better late than never, I guess.


  1. While it is hard to compare public transport run by public vs private entities, the following serves to show what is possible.

    Public transport in Metro Vancouver is expensive if you count per-trip fare (i.e. those who do not buy the monthly pass). That said, the poor elderly and the disabled are well taken care of via the annual BC Bus Pass scheme. "The bus pass is provided for an administrative fee of $45 per year and is valid for one calendar year, expiring on December 31." -- from the BC Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation webpage.

    This is the difference between for-profit and for-service. Similar story for the BC's public healthcare system.

    1. Hey Winkie,

      Some fellow told me Australia's public transport is damn expensive so I cannot compare apple to apple. But regardless of the timing I was stopped at train crossings, I see the trains kang kang eh. Means you have a high chance to get a seat even at peak hours. Of course expensive lah. If we want our trains to be kang kang in Singapore, guess how much would a ticket cost? Probably even more expensive than Australia, because it isn't even physically possible to provide that anymore. When I first talked about our shitty public transport in 2005, my friends told me I was nuts. Even had an argument with a girl over this. Today, she must be crying for a car each time she was on the train. Bet she really hate it squeezing with the nationalities she hated most. She was a racist.

  2. The animated GIF is very distracting... Haha

    Anyway, people ask for it at elections, they get


    1. Thank you. I'm glad you like it. I was inspired by Harry Potter movies where pictures used in their newspaper was animated. Bet Shitty Times couldn't do an animation on their rags.

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    1. Sorry but they way you wrote is a bit unfair for some of the MIW wives

      "Already their wives are holding foreign PRs and passports (e.g. MBT's wife is Australian, Yaacob's wife is American...)"

      somehow implies some MIW deliberately go and cow the foreign Ang Moh to get passport, or that the wives applied for and got foreign passports after people become MIW.

      But just to clarify to xian-jiao newbies SG here who don't know much about real SG politics (if they only rely on government media), the fact is the wives are born and bred overseas so always can have right to retain their passport wat.

      Also are you saying that these MIW's sons (since women still don't need to serve any form of NS in SG) can siam NS obligations working in overseas offices....... very very serious accusations here you know, since I also wan to know how they can do it!

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  4. @ XYZ - 18 January 2014 07:11

    "MIW's sons (since women still don't need to serve any form of NS in SG) can siam NS obligations working in overseas offices....... very very serious accusations here you know, since I also wan to know how they can do it!"

    eh... you act blur or is this a tongue-in-cheek rhetoric?

    If you really don't know, just email Tony Tan and ask how his son skive thru NS in an air-con office?