Singapore’s state-owned transport operator SBS Transit posted a record 57.7% increase in net profits, taking home S$36.2 million in the first half of 2018. The profit came after Transport Ministry increased bus and train fares by 4.2% last October, and it is SBS Transit’s third consecutive profit after the fare raise.
According Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan in March this year, the fares will raise further this year because “it is too cheap”.
SBS Transit said the profits came after it was awarded the Seletar Bus Package in March and higher ridership from its duopoly train lines.
Despite its double-digit profits, the government-owned transport operator complained about rising operating and maintenance costs as a signal to the government to increase fares:
“Operating costs will be higher, with higher staff costs following salary adjustments and increments. Repairs and maintenance costs are expected to increase with Downtown Line (DTL) fully operational and higher maintenance requirements as the bus and train fleets age.”
The current fare formula does not account for train breakdowns or overcrowding in public transport. Singapore commuters have been reluctant to pay more for fares as the authorities have been lagging behind in service delivery and quality of commute.