Friday 7 June 2013

Fare review report delayed to collect more feedback

Channel NewsAsia, 5 Jun 2013

The Fare Review Mechanism Committee (FRMC) said Wednesday it has delayed the submission of its findings to the government as it needs time to gather quantitative feedback.

The report was initially targeted to be submitted by the end of June. It is understood that the report will now be submitted in a few months' time.

The FRMC was tasked to also review the existing public transport concession framework by Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew in February.

In the FRMC blog, FRMC’s chairman Richard Magnus wrote that an expanded and enlightened concessions framework should benefit a broader segment of commuters.

This includes commuters who earn lower incomes, those who are physically challenged, tertiary students and pre-primary children who are taller than 0.9 metres.

The FRMC has held focus group discussions where voluntary welfare organisations for the disabled, grassroots leaders and activists, tertiary students, union leaders and public transport operators (PTOs) gave their views.

Mr Magnus said the FRMC has considered their views and taken some on board in its overall reviews.

Viewing public transport as meeting a social need, Mr Magnus stressed that its affordability is a key concern for commuters.

Mr Magnus noted that there are difficult trade-offs to be made on a number of key issues and that is why it would be helpful to gather quantitative feedback.

This includes how the FRMC will prioritise the granting of more concessions that address the competing interests of different commuter groups.

Another issue is how the concessions should be funded in a sustainable manner and whether full-fare paying commuters would be prepared to pay slightly more to help with more generous concession schemes.

Another consideration would be the guiding principles that need to be put forward should the government chip in.

Also to be considered are principles for PTOs to "share their gains" with commuters in a meaningful and impactful manner.

Whatever fare formula that is eventually recommended and adopted, Mr Magnus said the question is how to balance the interests of the PTO and safeguard commuters' interests by giving the Private Transport Council sufficient tools to ensure that fares are affordable.

Mr Magnus stressed that quantitative feedback would ensure that their report is unbiased and objective.

In his Facebook post, Mr Lui wrote that he fully supports Mr Magnus's request to take the time that he and his committee will need before finalising the report.

Mr Lui added that the review of the public transport fare review mechanism is an important one as its outcome is one that will affect many.

No comments:

Post a Comment