The Workers Party (WP) has long championed the nationalisation of Singapore’s public transport system. WP has, since 2006 called for the MRT and public buses servicing major trunk routes to be brought under a National Transport Corporation (NTC) which will oversee and provide transport services.
We can go on and on about Nationalisation VS Privatisation of our trains but the crux of the issues is actually far simpler – Singapore is unique and we have to find a solution that best fits our needs.
Our Transport Minister had previously explained at length that while a nationalised public transport system might seem attractive, it has serious implications. (Source)
Firstly it would result in commuters and taxpayers – those who do not take public transport to pay more, and possibly, for a poorer level of service over time.
Secondly, operators would be dependent on government funding as well as operate on cost recovery basis – this would be cost in-effective.
The fact is – We tried to look at other first world cities for solutions.
London. New York, Tokyo, Europe, Hong Kong. ..but none could offer a sustainable solution for us!
The latest framework by SMRT and LTA ensures that private rail operators will run rail services while the government will take care of infrastructure, replacing of trains and building capacity to meet demands. It will free rail operators of heavy capital expenditure and get them to focus on providing reliable rail services for commuters.
It is a balance between private sector cost and operational efficiency and Government’s responsiveness to commuter’s demands.
Learn about the changes that comes with the transition to the New Rail Financing Framework (NRFF). pic.twitter.com/RFPIe3cSK3
— LTA (@LTAsg) July 15, 2016
You shouted for Nationalisation – Well this is halfway there isn’t it (No matter how the government’s PR tried to say otherwise)
You shouted for Privatisation – Well SMRT is still in the game and your fares / services are still competitively priced (What are you grumbling about then?)
At the end of the day – its better train services at affordable prices.
The new framework ensures that citizens wouldn’t be double-paying (once in train fares, second time in taxes for maintaining/upgrading train systems).
Majority of the fare will actually go to the sinking fund for maintaining/upgrading train systems. New licensing regime also means that SMRT will not be able to derive exhorbitant profit from train operations
It has nothing to do with the frequent breakdowns or even the hairline cracks in the trains.
This is about sustainability. This is about finding a solution that provides the best for the commuters of today and of tomorrow.