PAP MP Cheng Li Hui echoes Khaw, criticises PTC for lowering public transport fares


Even as Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan announced yesterday in Parliament that the current public transport fare formula is “inadequate” and that the Public Transport Council (PTC) is reviewing it to better track “total costs,” another ruling party parliamentarian criticised the PTC for lowering public transport fares.

Khaw had opined that local public transport fares are presently affordable and that the Government needs to ensure that the transport network remains sustainable: “We must be careful that (fares) are not priced too cheaply, as maintaining a high-quality transport system requires resources. Cheap fares are popular, but they are not sustainable.”

On the PTC fare review, Khaw said: “I am confident that they can work out a fair and sustainable arrangement. Please support the PTC when they make their recommendations.”

Khaw seemed to indicate that public transport fares will be hiked as he explained how expensive it has been to improve and expand the public transport network:

“Over the past five years, improvements to public transport services have increased operating costs by about 60 per cent. One major contributing factor is the large increase in network capacity as we opened new lines and added more buses and trains.
“This huge cost increase has been borne by the Government. Against such rising cost, fares have gone down by 2 per cent over the same period.”

“Every dollar spent on transport is a dollar less for other expenditure – like schools, healthcare and security,” he added, explaining how the Transport Ministry’s budget has surpassed the budgets for the Ministry of Health, Ministry of National Development and Ministry of Education to become the second-biggest budget after the budget for defense.

Tampines GRC MP Cheng Li Hui echoed Khaw’s concerns and asked why the Council recommended fare reductions while operating costs grew over the past three years:

“The additional operating cost was clearly not captured in our current fare formula setup as a result, operating cost has increased drastically while fares have lagged behind a for the last few years. This needs to be urgently addressed for a more sustainable public transport system and to prevent increasing burden on taxpayers.
“Given that operating costs have increased drastically, it is surprising to see the Public Transport Council has granted three consecutive fare decreases.”

Minister Khaw wholeheartedly agreed with Cheng’s assessment: “I agree with Ms Cheng Li Hui that the current formula is inadequate. It can be improved to better track total costs.”

Interestingly, the MPs criticisms of fare decreases come after Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong said in Parliament on Tuesday that $5 billion of the exceptional budget surplus of FY2017 would be set aside for a Rail Infrastructure Fund “which will benefit all MRT commuters”.

He had added that using part of the surplus for MRT network improvements is a part of the government’s bid to “give back” to Singaporeans.

Netizens flame Khaw Boon Wan for saying “Cheap fares are popular, but they are not sustainable.”



  1. Hello brainless! No independent thoughts only know how to echo is it? How come in some countries the senior citizens travel for free and here cannot? Why oh why? Their public transport also does not break down hor! How do you justify the fare increases all the time? Things no good also dare to ask for more money is it?

  2. What qualities and inconvenient SMRT had given us and did SMRT made a lost?
    (If the same person in charge said HDB made a lost and if he going to say the same on SMRT in the near future, meaning he is incapable). If answer is no, give us two years of no major breakdowns and few minor breakdowns before considering to increase fare cause you have the profits to spend and suggest pay cut on your salary during this two years

    IF LATE LKY IS AROUND, he will likely disallow and he will not hesitate to replace new leaders

  3. Wow, need to bring up at the next GE that the party likes price increases. Remember that not so many years ago, there was a cost of living committee or report trying to dilute the impact of unhappiness, etc. Even if you need to increase fares, don’t hee haw and grunt it. That is all smart politics. Not this charade. We need to move onto a more mature political system where there is good debate with intellectuals on both sides.

    • I remembered the time when serving NS, you are given bus pass and when you buy the $33 stamp,if I’m not wrong travelled unlimited for the whole month. Now,ez link card,flash card cashcard and all plastic card are made to use BUT no concessions at all. All NS personal wait long long for 2 years serving AS cheap labour disguises as National Service with no CPF co payments.Still have to serve part time for about 10 year in the name of Reservists.

  4. If Khaw and herd have done a lot of good work on the ground in constituency, electorates may say : this is a good man. Poor thing to be in infrastructure area which is hot potato. But if the MP is missing most of the time like LHK in Radin Mas, people will remember the MRT saga and cast the votes against this guy in his constituency.

  5. We should not let these good for nothing ppl take away our hard earned money. I hope all talented people leave this country as soon as possible. This is a feudalism system. Leave this country and hope US to take action on this country.

  6. Stupid MP. She doesn’t know the public transport is a public utility? It’s subsidised by all governments to ensure it’s affordable for the general public. She must be booted out at the next GE. Pity they can get a free ride under the GRC scheme, otherwise she’ll be out!

  7. Increase in cost over five years because maintenance of the train system were neglected by the management.

    Note that under the government took over the assets, people will to pay more fares because a commercial company negligence in the past is unreasonable.

  8. My post yesterday to ah hui:


    Tell us what is ‘total cost’?

    Does it or should it include the cost that arose from or incurred due to incompetence, inefficiencies and mismanagement bred out of the entrenched corporate culture which non other than the SMRT CEO pointed to?

    Does it include the cost of OVER THE TOP frequencies of breakdowns, however minor each may be?

    Do you know if there is any benchmark for breakdown frequencies for example one derived from those of HK, Taipei and Tokyo and breakdowns beyond which are ‘abnormal’ and thus ALL cost related to it should be excluded from ‘total cost’?

    And how studiously is the gov adhering to the definition of ‘operating cost’ and not making the operators shoulder what are not, especially those in the grey areas?

    And not to forget, the fines that gov-sg used to levy on the Operators! Do these also form part of ‘total cost’ that justify fare hikes when the gov collected the fines but commuters suffered the inconveniences?

    If you don’t have accurate data and info of these, you are doing exactly what your dastardly dis-gracefu accused the upright WP Chairwoman Sylvia Lim of doing, which of course she did not!

    • This comfort woman is a richman daughter and like all people in such company n they join RC n later invole in politic..for what
      This women take bus to work? Bg shot in father’s comany, think she take bus or mrt to work or meeting? She dun even know what public transport is like n even want to comment on it?
      U take public transport to work everyday, n then only u allow toopen ur mouth on such subject.
      U became MP thro the GRC backdoor n bcos of connection…u think u can get a farting chance if you stand in a SMC?

  9. Educate me please. Our transport companies are privatised right? That’s why they raise fares to sustain operations right? They also get govt funding now, so it’s left hand take from commuters right hand take from govt? That way They can show making profit? So which of the income do they use to maintain operations? Like as though got double money like that. Sorry ah… I’m not so highly educated so I want to clarify.