Photo of train breakdown from CNA

Singapore’s private public transport operator, SBS Transit, today (May 13) posted a total of S$40.3 million profit from public transport in the recent financial quarter ending March 31. S$36.6 million were made from public bus services while S$3.7 million were made from train services including the North East Line and Downtown Line.

SBS Transit is a subsidiary of ComfortDelgro Group, which also posted a S$3.7 million profit from its driving centre division. The group also made a bulk of its profit in automotive engineering from the sales of diesel to taxi drivers. Taxi drivers also contributed S$38.5 million of profit to the group through taxi rental. ComfortDelgro Group posted a total of S$73.4 million net profit, and only less than half of the profits are derived form non-public transport sources.

The major shareholder of SBS Transit and it’s competitor, SMRT Group, is Temasek Holdings. SMRT posted a S$109 million profit for FY2016 in April. Although both public transport operators are making comfortable profits from public transport fares and commuters, the money were not reinvested into better rail infrastructure. Train breakdowns have increased to as frequent as a weekly affair, and the regulator Land Transport Authority has been silent as compared to its earlier days where it issued warnings and fines.

There is no comment from Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan on the disproportional profiteering by SMRT and SBS Transit. The Transport Minister is also passively avoiding media enquiries on train breakdowns, and pushing the fault to the public transport operators and their maintenance workers. It is rumored that the Transport Minister is afraid of criticizing SMRT and SBS Transit due to their links to Temasek Holdings, whose CEO is the wife of the Prime Minister.

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