MOT COS 2023: PAP MPs ask about fare subsidies, HSR & delivery rider safety

03/03/2023

While the Government keeps Singaporeans connected with sound transport policies and a world-class transport network, PAP MPs are scrutinising how this journey will continue.

Their questions from Day 5 of the Committee of Supply debate touched on public transport fare subsidies, safer streets for seniors and delivery riders and the recovery of Changi Airport as well as the Kuala Lumpur–Singapore high-speed rail project.  

Public transport fare subsidies

The PAP Government subsidises each public transport journey by over $1. At the same time, these journeys need to be pleasant ones — accessible, affordable, reliable and clean.

Here, Ms Poh Li San (Sembawang GRC) called for figures accounting for how much the Government spends on maintaining Singapore’s public transport network:

“With six MRT and three LRT lines in operation, what is the annual operation and maintenance expenses? Also, with the recent increase in fuel prices and electricity tariffs, what is the increase in annual operation and maintenance expenses for the public buses?”

Mr Lim Biow Chuan (Mountbatten SMC) asked about the future direction of these subsidies:

“Fare subsidies do come from all the taxes that we contribute towards — income tax, corporate tax, GST, plus the NIRC,” he said. 

“I understand the public transport fare formula is due for review in 2023,” Mr Lim continued.

May I seek an update on the fare formula review so that commuters and Singaporeans can also share their views as to how public transport costs should be shared between commuters and the tax-paying public?”

Streets for seniors and safety for delivery riders

Two trends about Singapore’s streets include more seniors walking them and more delivery riders hastening through them.

Ms Nadia Samdin (Ang Mo Kio GRC) asked about how Silver Zones will help keep our seniors safe:

“MOT had earlier announced plans to implement Silver Zones islandwide.

Can the Ministry please provide an update on this? How does MOT engage the community living in the area ahead of time on the Silver Zones?”

Ms Yeo Wan Ling (Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC) emphasised the “really bad odds stacked against” delivery riders who zip along Singapore’s shared streets in the course of their work:  

“When the rubber hits the road — literally — our riders stand no chance in a collision with a vehicle. No doubt, gracious pathway and road sharing is important to cultivate…I ask the Ministry to provide an update on what programmes would be put in place to give awareness to all stakeholders on sharing norms.”

Changi Airport’s recovery and is the high-speed rail project getting back on track?

And moving from Singapore’s streets to the horizon, Changi Airport is a vital connector between Singapore and the rest of the world. It has recovered well since the worst of the pandemic, with more passengers and more flights resuming safely since the lifting of border restrictions.

Ms Ng Ling Ling (Ang Mo Kio GRC) asked what this recovery means for the welfare of airport staff as well as for the natural environment:

“I would like to know how the Government will ensure the welfare and safety of more than a thousand staff providing full range of aviation security and ground handling services who will also be managing increasing volume.

Lastly, as the aviation industry is a major contributor to carbon emission, how is the Government enabling more sustainable solutions and the conversion to low-carbon fuels to align with Singapore’s commitment to achieve net zero emission by 2050?”

The Kuala Lumpur–Singapore high-speed rail project would have been another excellent connector for Singapore. 

Mr Gan Thiam Poh (Ang Mo Kio GRC) asked if the project, which was expected to bring travel convenience and economic benefits to both Singapore and Malaysia, might get back on track:

“May I ask the Minister for an update on the progress of the discussion of the HSR between two nations? What are the chances of the revival of this project?”

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Images via MCI, MOT, Changi Airport Group, LTA.