Last week, the Public Transport Council (PTC) approved a fare increase for bus and train rides from April this year. This was done despite a fault on the North-South line affecting trains from Woodlands station to Choa Chu Kang station the week before.
Today, there is yet another train fault on the North-South Line. A 90-minute disruption during the morning rush hour caused commuters to be late for work and school and Singaporeans have taken to social media to complain loudly about the train disruption.
I think the complaints are very valid, and not just for the train delays. Complains about the price hikes are also very valid because we have two train delays sandwiched between a fare hike. There had been constant train delays for years and the week after a train delay, the PTC announced a price hike. Now a week after the price hike announcement, there is yet another train delay. That’s just bad news on top of bad news for Singaporeans and it’s small wonder why the complaints are flooding in.
The PTC have no one to blame but themselves. They should have waited for a period of time to pass before announcing the price hike; if possible they should have waited till after Chinese New Year. Honestly, I think most Singaporeans are used by now to price hikes; what they are not willing to accept are hikes for broken down services.
Since the SMRT are still unable to publicly say what caused the fault two Saturdays ago, chances are the faults will continue on for some time (with Chinese New Year coming up to boot). I’m willing to bet that the guys at the PTC will blame this fiasco on bad luck, but unfortunately it’s a lot more than that. It's not just bad timing, it’s bad planning.
It's bad planning on their part to announced the price hike before the Chinese New Year, a week after a train delay. The fact that there's another train delay after the announcement of the price hike...well, that's just those guys at the PTC asking for it. They should have waited.