... even as small time transport operators in S'pore think twice !
Straits Times 2/08/2008 Yeo Ghim Lay (firstname.lastname@example.org) reports: "School bus fares won't go up - for now". That applies to small time transport operators. But we all know that GIIS (our monopoly bus operator) has already hiked the bus fees steeply in May. (click picture to view report)
The reported story began when SSTA (S'pore School Transport Association) had recommended a $10 to $15 hike per month, to be effective from 1st August. The matter was then questioned by CASE. A gov't body (CCS) issued a warning against "price fixing". Now most operators say "no hike" or some say "modest hikes".
From CCS (Competition Commission of Singapore Gov't) statement: CCS understands that the school bus operators are selected periodically by school committees based on several criteria including competitive bus fares. There is therefore a competitive process for the most efficient and responsive school bus operators to be selected. There is no necessity for any price guidelines to be issued.
In GIIS's case ? The school itself is the bus operator. (We pay bus fees to GIIS, not any other party. GIIS makes a profit. GIIS pays to TnG, the current sub contractor. Therefore, GIIS is the bus operator. Evidence, see: GIIS 2005 ACCOUNTS ).
The company GIIS, as a bus operator, is a monopoly and has imposed a steep bus fee hike on us parents. It is now clear from this newspaper report that only a monopoly like GIIS will be able to hike by $28 per month and get away with it (see previous topic: transport ).
Because of this peculiar situation, GIIS, unlike most other schools, is not on the side of parents when it comes to school transport.
GIIS: In the light of the CCS statement, GIIS as a company has to be seen as proper and not seen as abusing your monopoly position or setting high prices due to your own conflict of interest. So we think the bus fee hike should be cut to $10 or $15 per month, which is fair, and it cannot be the $28 that you have already applied unilaterally, which is just brutal overcharging by a monopoly. We understand the reality of the fuel hikes, so we will support you on $10 to $15 range.
Parents approaching CASE or CCS will not look good on GIIS. Parents will not do it as a first option naturally being worried about victimisation etc. But we can register our dissatisfaction in many other ways too, to make an impact and get a fair deal.