Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Two views regarding the Public Transport Fare Hike

View One :

i) It is unreasonable to raise fares again, since there was already a hike last year.

ii) Futhermore, despite the previous hike, there has been no discernable improvement in bus frequencies and service quality.

iii) Another question worth raising is whether consumers should be made to shoulder the rising cost of fuel.

iv) Besides, although public transport has been corporatised, ultimately it is a public service. Hence, the desire for profit should be tempered with a concern for the public.

v) To expand upon the previous point, not only is public transport a public service, it is an essential and unsubstitutable public service. Quite simply, many, especially the poor, have no alternatives available. Raising fares would certainly, and greatly, affect the poor.

View Two :

i) The cost of fuel has been rising. It is unreasonable to expect the transport companies to absorb these costs alone.

ii) If increases in fuel costs were to be absorbed, this would definitely necessitate cost-cutting measures in other areas. Service quality would almost certainly be affected.

iii) Consumers desire improvements in service frequency and service quality. Consumers also desire increased fuel costs to be absorbed by the transport companies. Put together, these desires are contradictory. Something cannot come from nothing.

iv) Lastly, the fare increases are not large. A 2-cent per trip increase would, assuming 4 trips a day and 30 days a month, amount to a $2.40 additional monthly overlay. $2.40 is the price of a pack of chicken rice. Futhermore, student fares and concessions remain unaffected.

Pick whichever view you agree more with, but try not to ignore the other view. Also, try not to assimilate both views - that would be doublethink.

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