Friday, 17 January 2014

Public transport fares to go up from 6 April 2014, more concessions introduced

Transport fare hike offset by slew of concessions
Targeted help means many will pay less under adjustments starting April 6
By Christopher Tan, The Straits Times, 17 Jan 2014

AROUND a million commuters will pay less for travel, even as bus and train fares increase by two to six cents when the biggest price adjustment in 15 years kicks in on April 6.

This is because there will be a slate of new and enhanced concessions to go with the overall fare rise of 3.2 per cent, the Public Transport Council (PTC) said yesterday.

Releasing details of the first fare revision since 2011, the PTC also announced that although the two public transport operators here will make an additional $53.5 million in revenue, part of this will be contributed back to a fund meant to shield the poorest households from fare hikes.

SBS Transit and SMRT will have to contribute $7.2 million and $4.38 million respectively.

The fare adjustment means that ez-link card fares will go up by four to six cents for adults, two to three cents for senior citizens, and two cents for students.

Those paying by cash - who make up 3 to 5 per cent of commuters - will see costs shoot up by 10 to 20 cents every journey.

PTC chairman Gerard Ee pointed out that the 3.2 per cent rise is below last year's national average wage increase, which is "likely to be close to 5 per cent".

In the first direct travel subsidy of its kind, the Government will fork out $50 million in tax revenue to help defray the cost for two groups: low-wage workers earning up to $1,900 a month, and people with permanent disabilities.

About 400,000 low-wage workers and 50,000 people with disabilities will be informed by mail in April how to apply for concession cards that will entitle them to discounts of 15 per cent and 25 per cent respectively.

Several new concessions were also announced, including a $120 monthly pass which will allow adult fares unlimited travel.

After years of lobbying, polytechnic students will now get the same monthly pass that their peers in junior colleges enjoy.

All other students - including those in university and Institute of Technical Education - will get cheaper hybrid passes which give them unlimited rides on buses and trains. National servicemen will pay $85 for such a pass - the same as university students.

Another enhancement gives senior citizens unlimited travel for $60 a month.

In all, some 500,000 people will enjoy bigger concessions.

With an estimated three million public transport commuters here, around one in three will benefit from yesterday's package.

Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew said on Facebook yesterday that the PTC had "struck a good balance by keeping the fare increase a few notches below the average wage increase in 2013 while enhancing concessions for a significant segment of commuters".

He added that concessions for low-wage workers "will bring their... fares to price levels comparable to what they were paying 10 to 15 years ago".

Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy associate dean Donald Low said the package was economically sound.

"You don't artificially suppress prices... and you don't subsidise across the board. Instead, you give targeted help," he said.

He also noted that the government-funded concessions to help the two needy groups were "significant". "But I wonder, how come they took so long to do this?"

Government Parliamentary Committee for Transport chairman Cedric Foo said keeping fares affordable was just one part of the equation. The other is to put more buses on the road, expand the rail network, and improve service and reliability.

Adult pass caps transport costs at $4 a day
It will offer unlimited train and bus rides for $120 a month
By Royston Sim, The Straits Times, 17 Jan 2014

EACH day, office manager Pamela Lee not only takes the train and bus from her Tiong Bahru home to her Boon Lay office, but she also often makes other journeys to run errands.

That takes her transport spending to more than $100 a month.

But from April 6, a new monthly pass will give her unlimited rides on buses and trains for $120. The 49-year-old said she intends to apply for it. "It's worth it for me," she said.

A similar pass for senior citizens is priced at $60.

The adult pass, which targets heavy users of public transport such as Ms Lee, caps transport spending to $4 a day.

The Transport Ministry believes that about 40,000 to 60,000 commuters will purchase the new pass. There are currently about 1.2 million beneficiaries of existing concession schemes.

This is the first time the Government is stepping in to set the price of an adult monthly pass. At $120, the new pass is nearly 40 per cent cheaper than the $190 that commuters now have to pay for an ez-link season pass for unlimited train and bus rides.

EZ-Link, a Land Transport Authority subsidiary, also offers a pass which permits four train rides and unlimited bus rides each day for $170.

In its report last year, the Fare Review Mechanism Committee pointed out the need for an unlimited pass to keep fares affordable for those who use public transport heavily, since they would bear the biggest brunt of any fare increase.

The committee noted that the price of the ez-link pass was "unattractive". Its chairman Richard Magnus also suggested that average-income earners who spend $120 or more on public transport each month needed help.

When asked whether $120 was the right price point for heavy users, Dr Park Byung Joon, head of the Urban Transport Management Programme at SIM University, said there is no "ideal amount".

He noted that the monthly pass is effectively a concession scheme subsidised by regular commuters who pay the full fare. "There must be a social consensus first on how much these commuters should subsidise the heavy users."

Software manager Raja Sekhar, 37, said he will not be applying for the pass. He takes the train daily between Tampines and Raffles Place on weekdays, spending an average of $3 a day and $100 each month.

"The pass is not worth it for me, but for people who spend $150 to $200 a month, it's definitely beneficial," he added.

All Singaporeans and permanent residents can apply online or in person at TransitLink at Maxwell Road for the pass from March 6, which takes effect from April 6 when fares go up.

Help for low-wage workers, disabled signals major shift
By Christopher Tan, The Straits Times, 17 Jan 2014

THIS fare revision is unique primarily because of two government- funded concessions.

For as long as Singapore has been independent, the Government had steered clear of subsidising consumption directly.

But of course, transport is a derived demand, which means no one commutes purely for the sake of commuting.

The policy shift is also another step towards a more inclusive society - an important and noble aspiration in a country with one of the widest gaps between the rich and the poor.

The government-funded concessions have also made it easier for the Public Transport Council (PTC) to meet its ever-challenging objective: to keep fares affordable and yet ensure the commercial viability of the two transport operators.

To be sure, relying on a mathematical fare formula is far from perfect. The previous formulas fell short because the inflationary component included car and property prices. First, they are extraordinarily expensive items in Singapore, and second, they have little bearing on public transport.

The latest formula addresses that by using core inflation, which excludes the two aforementioned items.

But it is not perfect either. The formula includes an energy index, which takes into account changes in diesel and electricity costs.

Thus, it is in some way a duplication of what the core inflation component represents.

PTC chairman Gerard Ee admits as much. Not only that, but the index allows operators' cost increases to be translated more directly into higher fares.

The previous formulas prevented operators from passing costs directly to the commuter. As such, they were forced to be more financially disciplined.

It is good too that the PTC has decided not to allow the formula to play itself out fully this year.

The calculations included an adjustment forgone in 2012, and would have resulted in a 6.6 per cent fare hike. But the council decided to approve 3.2 per cent and roll over the remaining 3.4 per cent to next year.

Mr Ee estimates that the formula will result in a minus 0.3 per cent adjustment next year. If so, 2015's fare adjustment would work out to be 3.1 per cent.

This rollover function, which was a key recommendation of the Fare Review Mechanism Committee, paves the way for flatter and more manageable changes.

Another crucial recommendation was for transport operators to give part of the fare rise to a fund helping the poorest families.

It is heartening that Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew has increased the size of the fund and improved the way it will be disbursed. The latter is important.

Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy associate dean Donald Low says financial aid should not be "stigmatising, intrusive or burdensome" to the recipient. Make it as "automatic" as possible, he adds.

The fund's vouchers should be better distributed too. Obviously, poor families are not spread out evenly in Singapore. Hence, some MPs tell The Straits Times their vouchers run out quickly, while others usually have leftovers.

We shall see next year just how effective the improved fund is.

Meanwhile, it is quite clear the Government is now more willing to help needy families. And should the $7.5 million worth of vouchers be snapped up, there is a good chance it will draw more from the fund, which has a balance of $16.5 million after the latest withdrawal.

As for the slew of other concessions, the "burden sharing" principle still applies. In short, the full adult fares and cash-paying fares cross-subsidise the elderly and the young.

As such, many households will actually experience a dip in travel expenses - especially if they have family members in polytechnic, above 60, or who do not earn more than $1,900 a month.

Concessions may draw a flood of applications
By Royston Sim And Priscilla Goy, The Straits Times, 17 Jan 2014

WITH 500,000 Singaporeans expected to sign up for new concession cards to take advantage of transport subsidies for low-wage workers and the disabled, Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew has asked for understanding.

"I expect we will encounter some hiccups along the way..." he wrote in a Facebook post last night. "...Close to half a million Singaporeans may apply, and hence half a million personalised concession cards will have to be printed and mailed out."

The new and improved concession schemes announced yesterday have been targeted at varied segments of society, with low-wage workers, the disabled and polytechnic students some of the biggest beneficiaries.

Those with a monthly salary of no more than $1,900 and who are under the Workfare Income Supplement scheme will get a 15 per cent discount.

Cleaner Sim Ai Song, a 54-year-old father of two young children and the sole breadwinner, earns about $500 a month. But he spends a fifth of that on transport, which includes travelling from Commonwealth MRT, near his children's school, to Raffles Place MRT, where he works.

"Of course I welcome the cheaper fares. It's hard to get by and every cent counts," he said.

Disabled commuters will get fare discounts ranging from 25 per cent to more than 50 per cent, depending on distance travelled. They can also opt for a $60 monthly pass which gives them unlimited travel on buses and trains.

Disabled People's Association vice-president Judy Wee said any form of subsidy would help this group, which includes hotel reservations assistant Thomas Teo.

The 24-year-old, who uses a wheelchair, spends about $50 a month on transport. He lives near Tiong Bahru and works near City Hall. "With the concessions, I'd be willing to take jobs farther from home," he told The Straits Times. "But probably only if the office is near the MRT station."

These two schemes, expected to cost the Government $50 million, will benefit around 400,000 low-wage workers and 50,000 disabled people, and will kick in only on July 6 because of the time needed to process applications.

All the other concessions begin on April 6. That is when polytechnic students will receive what they have long been lobbying for - to be charged the same as their junior college peers for monthly concession passes. Currently, those in polytechnics have to buy more expensive passes which cost the same as university students'.

Government Parliamentary Committee for Transport chairman Cedric Foo said this move for polytechnic students "should have been done a long time ago".

Republic Polytechnic student and Sembawang resident Jody Phang, 21, will get to save $20 on the train concession pass, which he buys monthly.

Other concessions announced yesterday include giving free rides to all children below seven who have yet to enter primary school, and cutting the prices of all hybrid concession passes, including those for national servicemen and university students.

$30 vouchers to help needy cope with fares
By Priscilla Goy, The Straits Times, 17 Jan 2014

MORE public transport vouchers in bigger amounts will be given out to needy families, who will also have greater flexibility in applying for them.

Some $7.5 million from the Public Transport Fund has been set aside for 250,000 vouchers of $30 each, to help the poor cope with the public transport fare changes announced yesterday.

Eligible families can also apply for vouchers multiple times, as they can be distributed throughout the year while they last.

Previously, vouchers were restricted to one per household, and the application window was limited to a short period around the fare increase.

The Public Transport Fund, set up by the Government in 2007, currently stands at $12.2 million.

It will get an $11.5 million boost this year, with one-time contributions from operators SMRT and SBS Transit.

It is hoped the greater flexibility will help lift the take-up rate of the vouchers. Just over half of the 200,000 available in the previous exercise in 2011 were taken up, even after the Government made two public announcements for applications.

MPs and help agencies said the lukewarm response could have been due to the small amount offered of $20 for each voucher, and the hassle in applying for them. Families have to go to community centres or clubs to apply.

Vouchers were worth $30 to $40 each in previous exercises in 2007 and 2008.

MP for Sembawang GRC Ellen Lee welcomed the relaxed rules, saying: "With multiple vouchers available, more people will be willing to go through the administrative process in applying.

"The open application window also gives more time for people to learn about the vouchers and apply."

Vouchers can be used to buy or top up ez-link cards or monthly concession passes. Eligible families can apply from March 3 at community centres and clubs, or ask grassroots leaders for help.

The People's Association will work with the Citizens' Consultative Committees to help distribute the vouchers from early April.

'Balance struck' in latest fare exercise
It helped operators tackle rising costs while providing commuters with concessions, say analysts
By Royston Sim, The Straits Times, 18 Jan 2014

THE latest public transport fare exercise did strike a balance between helping transport operators meet rising costs and giving concessions to commuters, said transport analysts.

However, they note that the fare increase will cause unhappiness among commuters, who have asked why they should pay more when service quality on trains and buses does not seem to have improved.

On Thursday, the Public Transport Council (PTC) announced a 3.2 per cent fare hike this year, along with a slew of new and enhanced concessions.

National University of Singapore transport economist Anthony Chin said affordable fares must be evened with rising costs faced by the operators.

And operating costs have gone up because operators have to meet higher service standards.

While someone has to pay for improvements, he feels that fines for operators should not be capped so there is a harsher penalty for failing to meet standards.

As regulator, the Land Transport Authority should bear part of the responsibility for system failures, he added.

Singapore Management University law academic and Nominated MP Eugene Tan reckons that from a policy perspective, there is recognition that transport is a hot-button issue.

For instance, the concessions and providing more vouchers show that commuter interest is taking centre stage again, he said.

"People will still be unhappy, but one cannot deny there is a lot of thought and effort to make sure the increases, which are inevitable, would not hit those who find it the most challenging," he noted.

The PTC has also required the operators to contribute a portion of the $53.5 million in revenue from the hike to the Public Transport Fund, which is used to help the poorest households.

SBS Transit has contributed 20 per cent, or $7.2 million, of its revenue while SMRT had to contribute 25 per cent, or $4.38 million.

On whether both firms should be made to contribute more, SIM University Urban Transport Management Programme head Park Byung Joon felt they must keep a substantial portion of the fares, as the fare hike is meant to give them more revenue.

He said: "In fact, if they did not have to contribute to the Public Transport Fund, the fare hike could have been lower. It may be even seen as a tax on commuters to fund the Fund."

Professor Chin said the percentage of contributions to the fund should be reviewed annually, taking into consideration operating profit and performance.

Shorter rides for poly students
By Pearl Lee, The Straits Times, 18 Jan 2014

POLYTECHNIC students on a budget no longer have to make the choice of taking only trains, or just buses, depending on which concession pass they can afford.

And that means shorter travelling time to and from school.

The price of their various passes will be slashed by as much as half on April 6, when a slew of concessions announced by the Public Transport Council comes into effect.

Monthly hybrid passes for both train and bus rides will cost poly students $51, instead of the current $97. The train pass will cost $25, down from $45, while the price of the bus pass will be $27.50, down from $52.

"Sometimes, I just take the bus home even though it takes longer, as I want to make use of my bus pass," said Ngee Ann Polytechnic student Clarence Ching, 19, who has been regularly paying $52 for the bus pass. "With the hybrid pass becoming cheaper, it makes more sense to buy it... I'll have more travelling options and that means I can reach home faster."

The price of the passes for poly students will match the price of those for junior college students - something poly students like him have long been asking for. They have been paying the amount that older university students do.

Some, like Singapore Polytechnic student Brendan Tan, felt the passes with the current pricing did not have value for money. The 21-year-old said he bought the bus pass and the hybrid pass on two occasions, but they did little to reduce his transport expenses.

"Sometimes there is no difference, and sometimes, what I spend on transport is less than the cost of the pass," he said.

Like him, 17-year-old Ngee Ann Polytechnic student Carissa Chua decided against buying the travel passes as she felt they were too expensive. This was despite her having to take about five bus trips every day, both to school and to Tiong Bahru, where she has a part-time job.

"It now makes more sense to buy," said the only child of a dispatch rider and a retail assistant.

The polytechnics welcomed the move to give their students the same price structure as that for JC students.

A Nanyang Polytechnic spokesman revealed that students often "shared their concerns" about having to pay more "through dialogue sessions and feedback channels".

Mr Lim Biow Chuan, a member of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Transport, said many MPs had previously questioned why poly students were made to pay adult fares although they were the same age as their JC peers. "I've always felt that this was something we should change," said Mr Lim, who has been raising the issue in Parliament since three years ago.

Tampines GRC MP Baey Yam Keng said he was "pleasantly surprised" to learn that the price of travel passes for poly students will match that for JC students.

"I thought the new price will be in between what poly students currently pay and the price JC students pay," he said. "But I'm glad. It's good news."

$120 pass not cheaper option, say 60% polled
By David Ee And Rachel Au-yong, The Straits Times, 18 Jan 2014

SIX out of every 10 commuters say they will not get the new $120 monthly adult travel pass that is being introduced in April, because they do not spend that much on public transport.

Fifty-eight of the 100 commuters polled yesterday by The Straits Times said they spend between $50 and $110 a month, as they make only return trips from home to office on weekdays and travel little on weekends.

Many suggested that the pass, which gives unlimited bus and train rides, be priced at $100 or less, so that it can cater to average public transport users too.

Ms Phoebe Teo, 36, who does hotel valuations and goes to the Central Business District from her East Coast home, said the pass did not make sense as she spends at most $100 a month.

"I don't think most people go very much farther than work or home on weekdays," she said.

Some say they have to do their sums. "I take a shuttle to work daily, but this isn't included in the adult pass," said restaurant manager K.T. Tan, 55.

But nearly a third of those polled said the pass was what they had long waited for.

These heavy users said they face long daily commutes or have to criss-cross the island repeatedly for work. Many spend between $120 and $200 every month.

The Transport Ministry estimates that about 40,000 to 60,000 commuters will buy the new pass. A similar pass for senior citizens is priced at $60.

Insurance agent Michelle Goh, 25, said she racks up $300 a month visiting potential clients.

The new pass would save her more than $2,000 a year. "I waited for this for so long that I gave up on it already," she said.

Bank executive Foo Su Zhen, 32, who spends $150 a month on transport, said: "It's just like a student pass, but for adults."

Some were enticed by the convenience the pass offers, while others were just glad to save even a little, given the fare hikes.

"While there may not be much savings given how I travel now, every bit counts, especially after the price hikes," said Madam Nora Mohammed Noor, 37, a clerk.

More might opt for a travel pass if Singapore were to take a leaf out of London's book and introduce passes by zone, suggested bank executive Ryan Loke, 33.

For example, a travel pass covering just the central areas could be made cheaper than the $120 islandwide one, he said, making the passes more attractive to those living closer to the city centre.

Put fairness into fare reviews
By Donald Low And Alisha Gill, Published The Straits Times, 20 Jan 2014

ECONOMISTS generally prefer to meet society's desire for equity through targeted, lump-sum transfers to the poor rather than across-the-board subsidies that depress prices. This is because broad-based subsidies not only distort prices, but their main beneficiaries are also usually the rich.

Where targeted transfers are provided, the dominant view in economics is that the state should finance these subsidies. This is because equity is a social concern; it is only fair that society - rather than profit-maximising firms - pays.

Seen from this perspective, the Public Transport Council's (PTC) announcement of fare increases, combined with targeted help financed by the Government for lower-income individuals and other segments of the commuting public, are both efficient and equitable.

Yet, announcements of fare increases in Singapore are usually met with acrimony by a sceptical public. Why is this?

One reason could be that commuters are unimpressed by the quality of our public transport system. Trains and buses are crowded during peak hours, and delays are common.

When confronted by these inconveniences, it is tempting for commuters to ask why there should be any fare increases at all, and to point to the healthy profits that Singapore's two public transport operators (PTOs) enjoy as evidence that the fare increases are unjustified.

Another reason is scepticism over the fare adjustment formula the PTC uses. This formula, which was revised late last year, is (rightly) responsive to the cost structure of the PTOs.

But given the duopolistic structure of the public transport industry here, it is fair to ask how regulators could possibly know if our PTOs' cost structure is efficient. This asymmetry of information between regulators and operators bedevils all markets with regulated monopolies.

In a market where there is genuine competition between many producers, consumers are far more likely to accept price hikes caused by across-the-board cost increases.

But in a duopolistic market such as Singapore's public transport industry, even justified price increases might seem like price-gouging to consumers.

In short, the question of whether a fare increase is perceived as fair and justified is often linked to how the public transport industry structure is organised.

But the reality is that organisational form - whether it is government organisation or a commercial one - is a poor predictor of how efficient or productive an organisation will be.

The experience of public transport privatisations elsewhere has been mixed at best. In some cases, such as the privatisation of the British Rail and the London Underground public-private partnership, privatisation has failed and required large capital injections by governments to bail out failing private operators.

This does not suggest that publicly run transport systems have been resounding successes. A government-run public transport system may remove the problem of information asymmetry between regulator and operators, but there is no guarantee it would result in higher efficiency and lower fares.

If a government-managed public transport system achieves lower fares via operating subsidies by the state, commuters would be paying for those subsidies indirectly through their taxes.

Perhaps, the missing variable in the PTC's fare revision exercise is that it is not seen as being fair enough.

First, insights from behavioural economics suggest that in most people's minds, losses loom larger than gains. Various experiments suggest that we value losses twice as much as gains of the same size. This suggests that our adverse reaction to a fare increase is much stronger than our positive reaction to the offsetting subsidies.

Second, there is no penalty built into the fare review mechanism to penalise the PTOs for poor quality. The Fare Review Committee preferred to address quality lapses outside of the fare review mechanism.

The committee's decision is not without merits. Fares should be set based on the cost of doing business on the assumption that the PTOs are performing at the standards set by the regulator.

If the PTOs are constantly penalised for poor quality through lower fares, they may end up in a financial position that makes it difficult for them to meet the prescribed quality standards in the first instance.

Nevertheless, this well-intentioned approach of decoupling penalties for poor quality from the computation of fares is insensitive to people's equity bias.

It severs the link people want to see between price and quality.

Commuters may thus interpret higher fares without a commensurate improvement in quality as simply a reward for mediocrity.

To satisfy the public's demands for fairness, policymakers can consider harmonising their fare review cycles with their reviews of the PTOs' performance.

That way, the public will have less reason to believe that the PTOs are taking them for a ride - in more ways than one.

Donald Low is associate dean (executive education and research) at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, where Alisha Gill is a researcher.

Don't forget low-middle income commuters
By Goh Chin Lian, The Sunday Times, 19 Jan 2014

The fare hike announced last Thursday provides for more concessions to children, students and full-time national servicemen (NSFs), but the rest of the commuting public will have to bear it.

This cross-subsidy arrangement is business as usual, except that this time around, the Government has chosen to fund two other concessions for low-wage workers on Workfare and persons with disabilities, amounting to $50 million a year. Low-wage workers here refers to those earning a gross monthly income of $1,900 or less - a qualifying criterion for Workfare.

However, these moves raise questions for the commuting public: What is the impact of the additional concessions to be borne by commuters who belong to the low-income bracket but do not qualify for Workfare, as well as the "sandwiched" lower-middle class? Should the Government also give them some help?

The 2010 population census showed that they are a substantial group. At the lower end of the income scale, 363,107 resident working persons earning a gross monthly income of $1,999 or less take public transport. This corresponds to the 400,000 low-wage workers the Government expects to benefit from its new concession scheme.

Just above this are another 200,322 working commuters earning $2,000 to $2,999, and 138,788 earning $3,000 to $3,999, or 339,110 in all.

There are fewer working commuters in the upper income tiers - 244,347 earn $4,000 or more.

Hence, nearly 1.4 times more commuters from the lower-middle and middle-income group than the higher-income group will bear the burden, assuming similar travel patterns across both groups.

As for the amount they will bear, no overall cost figure was given in the latest announcement.

But Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew said in 2012 that the estimated additional cost to give polytechnic students full student travel concessions is $28 million a year based on 2012 fares.

A rough calculation based on 946,561 working persons from the 2010 census suggests that each working person will have to bear on average nearly $30 a year.

Besides the 80,000 polytechnic students who are expected to benefit this time, another 350,000 or so commuters will be granted concessions.

They include up to 150,000 children below seven years old who will travel free, 150,000 students who could benefit from cheaper bus/train monthly passes, unlimited train rides for some passes and the extension of eligibility to Singaporeans studying full-time in private schools, and 10,000 NSFs who will have cheaper monthly passes. Up to 40,000 senior citizens could also sign up for a monthly concession pass.

Those lower-middle and middle-income workers whose dependants belong to these groups will get some relief. A new adult monthly travel pass at $120 for unlimited rides may also lighten their expenses.

But there will be people who do not belong to these groups. To them, the official assurance given so far is that the affordability of fares is tracked even for their income group. Tracking should continue. The perception of being excluded from concessions also needs to be addressed. The Government has also addressed this point in other policies.

GST vouchers, for instance, are given not just to the lower-income, but also the middle-income, in lesser amounts based on public housing type - including those living in five-room and executive flats.

I agree with those who say that even if one does not qualify for travel concessions today, some day they will - if they grow old and/or have dependants.

But coupled with fare increases, the situation of this group should be closely watched, and when necessary, the Government should step in.


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