Profitability of Downtown Line, bus service tweaks are separate issues

Media Replies 11 Aug 2020 bus services Downtown Line

We refer to the report (Bukit Panjang to city stretch of DTL incurs $60m subsidy a year, Aug 9). Whenever a new rail line opens, the ridership for parallel bus services will fall. As a matter of discipline, LTA should adjust them so that limited resources can be used to benefit as many commuters as possible.

The current adjustments were planned when the DTL opened in Bukit Panjang in end 2015 and have been a matter for discussion with grassroots advisors of affected constituencies. The commercial performance of the line is a separate matter altogether. 

From the Government’s perspective, fundamentally, revenues from fares, advertising and retail activities of an MRT line can never fully recover the cost of building, equipping and operating the line.

MRT is a merit good, meaning, it will always require large Government subsidies funded by taxpayers’ money, and hence the need to exercise fiscal discipline even as we improve services.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) recognises the concerns of Bukit Panjang residents and is discussing various mitigation measures with the advisers.

Yeo Teck Guan
Senior Group Director, Public Transport
Land Transport Authority

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