Monday, April 30, 2007

Duopoly public transportation, serving public, or is it truely so?

In Singapore, there are basically two categories of public transport, namely Taxi and MRT (railway, subway) + buses. If you are wondering why I group up MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) and buses in the same category, you must have not known Singapore. Let me explain. In this little red dot, you have SBSTransit and SMRT running railway system called MRT. In the same little red dot, the bus system is run by.... you guess.. SMRT and SBSTransit. So, it's a duopoly. Wherever and whenever you take MRT or bus, your money will goes only in possible 2 ways direction. Not so much with the taxi, because Singapore has a rather fair share of taxi fleets.

A year ago, this SMRT company complained that they haven't hiked up the railway and fare price for some years due to the so-called slowing down economy. Considering that economy is peaking up, the so-called government body, whatever it is, allows them to increase the fare. Stop for awhile and think, doesn't it sound that the company think that bus and railway fare need to increase consistently? Does it sound that the government body think so as well? You bet, they agree.

So, after raising the fare, SMRT reported a Q4 earning, ending in March 07, to increase by a whooping 80.3% to S$36.2 million. Woot, so nice to have SMRT stocks huh? the full earning per share rose by 34%! Basically, the increase fare seems to have help them boost the profit. Considering that the company is already reporting a possible increase in operating cost once again, it seems entirely possible for them to apply for further price hike and get the government body to agree upon it by end of 07 or early next year. Where does the "serving public" part being the one of the two railway companies? It seems that the key is earning more and more and more profit. Not a single thoughts is spared for the public. Oh, I forget to mention that SBSTransit and SMRT run different routes of railway and buses. Somehow, an amicable solution was struck from an unknown time brokered by an unknown body that both companies should not vie for another. Amazing things that happen in a country who prizes itself for being highly competitive :P

Ah well, readying to empty pocket soon, what else could I do? I need to take the railway and bus anyway :)

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