Thursday, February 24, 2005

Public transport fare formula reviewed 

A new public transport fare formula has been drawn up for Singapore.

New public transport fare adjustment formula recommended
Putting the brakes on untimely public transport fares hikes. This is one of the thrusts of the recommendations tabled by the Committee on the Fare Review Mechanism... The committee said the new proposed fare adjustment formula would mirror the changes in the cost of living and wages more accurately.

Ong Kian Min, Chairman of the Committee on the Fare Review Mechanism, said: “If this formula had been in operation since 1998, you can see that in some years in applying this formula, it will produce a negative maximum adjustment value which means that in those years conditions were such that the fares should be reduced or rebates should be given by the PTC.”...
Earlier, the Department of Statistics had released figures showing scant inflation in Singapore.

Singapore’s Jan consumer prices up 0.3% month-on-month
Singapore’s consumer prices rose 0.3 percent in January as prices of everything except clothing rose from the month before, the Department of Statistics said on Monday... Seasonally adjusted, the January consumer price index was however flat from December, confounding market forecasts for a rise.
Over the longer term, the consumer price index in January is just about 3 percent higher than in 2000, according to figures provided by the Department of Statistics. In fact, prices actually fell in 2002 from the previous year.

Price indices compiled by the Department of Statistics show that in the fourth quarter of 2004, the import price index was half a percent lower than in 2000, while the export price index was a whopping 16 percent lower than in 2000. In other words, prices that are set in the international market have tended to decline, not rise, no doubt thanks to the dampening effect on prices of low labour costs in emerging countries like China and India. No wonder Singapore workers who face this competition are worried.

In the face of such statistics, prices in Singapore that move in only one direction — up — look out of place. The latest proposal by the Committee on the Fare Review Mechanism appears to be a recognition of the current reality. Hopefully, the lesson is not lost on other price-regulating committees.


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