Friday, July 11, 2008

New Fare Structure

The Ministry of Transport is introducing a new fare structure that is based on distance rather than the number of transfers. On the surface, this looks fairer to commuters who has to make transfers.

I am worried about the high cost of implementing this new system, which will probably be several tens of millions of dollars. This is an added cost that must be borne by the commuters through higher fares. A simpler approach is to give a higher rebate for a transfer. This will not require massive changes to the fare charging equipment on every bus and train station.

In my view, a better approach is to introduce competition in the feeder services. Let small operators provide the feeder services using small buses or passenger vans. With a smaller capacity, the small bus does not have to take a long route and make many stops to pick sufficient passengers. It will reduce the waiting and travelling time and make it more convenient for commuters to travel by public transport. Commuters should not have to wait more than 5 minutes to get into a feeder bus.

The big buses should be relieved from the task of picking up passengers at individual stops. They should be used to provide an express service with fewer stops on the journey. This will reduce the travelling time and lead to a more efficient use of the buses.


  1. It makes sense to reduce transfer fares as we move to the spoke-n-hub system, where a commuter is expected to make more transfers.

    However, it means that the fares for direct bus journeys, which are taken by 60% of the commuters today, are going up.

    I do think that paying $1.58 for travelling across Singapore is cheap. Our public transport today encourages you to take long trips.

  2. I still cannot find the logic why the direct-trippers should pay more than current price if this new system kicks in.
    Commuters would like to make their trips pleasant and time-efficient, so taking a direct trip could be better than having transfers along the way.
    It is not right to penalise the direct-trippers more.


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