Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong today (Dec 9) celebrated the completion of a S$1.1 billion worth of free buses given to private transport operators SBS Transit and SMRT over the past 5 years. Started in 2012, the Bus Service Enhancement Programme (BSEP) gave 1,000 buses away to protect the profits of SBS Transit and SMRT.
The legalised corruption to publicly fund private companies was passed in 2012, when bus services were declining and the duopoly transport operators refuse to pay for new buses out from their own pockets. Despite spending S$1.1 billion, bus waiting time continue to be infrequent with frequency as long as 20 minutes during peak hour period.
Following the failure of the BSEP to motivate private companies to invest more in infrastructures, the Singapore government then introduced the new contracting model where taxpayers pay for hefty maintenance expenses and the purchase of new buses, while the SBS Transit and SMRT get the profitable part of administering manpower and operations.
Singapore’s public transport continue to be plagued by overcrowding due to the island being overpopulated. Train breakdowns are increasingly common and especially frequent during peak hours. According to the Transport Minister last month, the power stations were unable to handle the sheer frequency of trains running to meet peak hour demand.
Dictator PM Lee Hsien Loong today also launched a new bus service, 71, to commemorate the end of the corrupted BSEP scheme. However, he did not make any speech or comment on the failure of the BSEP and the worsening state of public transport.