The $10 million experiment on public transportation

I wrote to MP Janil Puthucheary on 6 March, opining that his proposal for ‘free’ travel was hopeful but unrealistic.

Near the end of my letter, I said that “taxpayers end up paying for ‘free travel’”. This is similar to the funding for BSEP and again, throwing money at problems.

I also questioned if any survey had been conducted as that should logically have been the first step to find out if commuters felt incentivised to travel earlier.
It appears commuters were again not consulted and this idea was conceived in ivory tower.

If Mr Puthucheary does not travel by public transport, how does he even know how commuters will react?

All these aside, let’s take a look at how this plan plans to fail.

LTA’s chart

For commuters ending their journeys between:
(farthest station from 16 City Centre Stations roughly about 30 minutes)

8.00 to 8.15 – very likely a high percentage of the 16,500 will adjust traveling time to enjoy discount or free travel.
No need rocket scientist to tell you a mini peak will be created just before 7.45 and regular commuters will be pissed.

8.15 to 8.30 – in today’s context, very few would want to arrive half an hour earlier at the office for a savings of a dollar or so.

8.30 to 9.00 – this category is even more unlikely to change their travel time.

The main concern is the peak-of-peak half hour between 8.30 to 9.00 which the LTA should have surveyed commuters instead of making wild guesses behind closed doors.
Besides the lower income group, does the LTA think anyone is going to lose some sleep over $1 or so?

If you ask me, there are meaningful things to do in the morning like having breakfast at home with family, bringing junior to childcare etc.

By the way, the real issue is one of inadequate infrastructures. Why bother to talk about 6.9 million when a smaller number of 5.3 million already cannot manage?

Consultation is key. Please consult commuters instead of anyhow making $10 million dollar assumptions.

Phillip Ang

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