SMRT, SBSTransit – BT

SMRT, SBS Transit seek fare adjustments

FACED with rising cost pressures, transport operators SMRT and SBS Transit have submitted applications to the Public Transport Council (PTC) seeking fare adjustments.

Despite efforts to manage costs, SMRT’s energy costs rose 17.5 per cent to $122.4 million in FY2011 on the back of higher electricity and diesel prices as well as with the launch of the Circle Line, it highlighted in a press release yesterday.

Staffing costs have also increased in line with both the higher employer’s CPF contribution rate and increased headcount for the Circle Line.

At the same time, SMRT has in recent years bumped up the frequency of train and bus trips to ease crowding as well as to cut waiting times, and has also continued to invest in new buses to beef up its fleet.

‘SMRT has been managing our costs while improving our productivity. Our non-fare businesses from commercial activities like retail rentals and advertising have contributed to productivity gains that are shared with commuters as it lowers the maximum allowable fare adjustment,’ said SMRT Corp’s executive vice-president (trains) Khoo Hean Siang. ‘However, with uncontrollable cost increases due to rising fuel prices and manpower costs, we have applied for the maximum fare adjustment of 2.8 per cent, which if approved, will help mitigate the cost increases.’

Meanwhile, SBS also said that it continues to face significant cost pressures despite efforts to cut costs and boost productivity.

‘Fuel and energy costs have been increasing. At the same time, we have also been investing in new buses as part of our fleet-renewal exercise which began in 2006. In the last year alone, we have ordered another 600 buses at a total cost of $268 million. In all, our 2,050 new buses are costing us some $854 million,’ SBS said, adding that details of its application, which is subject to the PTC’s approval, will be announced at a later date.

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