Fare rises help operators and drivers

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Singapore’s former labour chief and minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Lim Boon Heng explained last week why bus fare increases, while unpopular, are necessary – the Straits Times reported.

If bus fares were never allowed to go up, transport operators might not have enough to invest in new buses, and quality of service would without doubt take a turn for the worse, he argued.

Speaking at a delegates’ conference of the Singapore Shell Employees’ Union, he noted that fare increases also went towards funding pay rises for workers.

“You know raising bus fares is unpopular, but if we cannot raise bus fares, how will that impact on your fellow workers? I am sure you will understand it is not fair if they cannot receive wage increases,” he said. “However, their wage increase will be funded by fare increases, which adversely impact on the travelling public.”

Mr Lim, who left the Cabinet after Singapore’s May General Election, said in the absence of productivity improvements, a 3% wage increase for the workforce meant fares had to go up by 1.5% because labour costs make up half the total operating costs for buses in the former British colony.