Tuesday, August 5, 2008

GIIS, monopoly bus operator, gets away with price hikes !

... even as small time transport operators in S'pore think twice !

Straits Times 2/08/2008 Yeo Ghim Lay (ghimlay@sph.com.sg) 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.


_sahirs said...

GIIS is contracting the job to a bus service operator. Bus schedules, delays, responsibility for kids lies on the operator.

Grow up - don't become a typical Singaporean victim of nanny state.

There are some things you have to live with. Currently, it is fare hikes in everything.

somebuddy said...

Sorry to point out. Part of growing up is reading what they have written, understand, then comment....

Reg. school bus, "typical Singaporean" is better off, only we are the victim of GIIS scam - Local school bus fee is only nominal hike/no hike. Why ? I say due to CASE action and what you derisively call "nanny state" - government departments keeping a good watch. So what is your logic dragging S'pore govt (your reference to "nanny state") or Singaporeans into this ?

You say don't become a victim... but do you know, of every $1 bus fee you pay, how much goes to the sub-contractor and how much to GIIS ?

Yes, currently there is hike in everything. Agree. But don't make it the excuse to have a super hike and get away with it pocketing more money in the process.

I don't care if GIIS outsources or buys their own bus. They resell the service, set their own price, and take my money. So they are responsible to manage the service properly and also control the price.

(Side remark: This is a simple commercial matter. Other school parents pay $10 or 15 more, and we pay $28 more so we have the right to ask why. The service is the same. If you don't want to know details, it is ok, but do not suggest others to become as submissive and sedate as you).

Anonymous said...

Previous post
admitted it is fully legal for GIIS to make any desired level of profit.

If that is correct how can you say GIIS should not make bus profit.

Anonymous said...

As it is already hiked and petrol has gone up I agree with Sahirs we have to learn to live with it. Anyway it is the best option currently we have !

If you calculate from 2005 and 2006 accounts, it shows that out of every $1 we pay for bus, 80 cents was paid to TnG in 2005 whereas in 2006 only about 50 cents was going to TnG. As you can imagine TnG must have asked for increase. In fact I even heard from my child about TnG 'strike work' related to some payment from GIIS. Why have this hassle ? On the other hand I don't know of any NRI parent who is so poor to go broke paying $1 extra per day. So I am not that cut up about this issue.

If this blog wants to draw attention to a price matter I suggest you all look at the notebooks (imported by GIIS from India) and being forced on us at such exhorbitant price. I do not understand the need to pay so much for such low quality. On top of it, the 'Global Indian' branding on it looks very cheap and ugly.

Just my 2cents worth! Keep up the good postings and comments.

whyKare said...

"why pay so much for such poor quality ?" - previous comment on notebooks.
Then why are u willing to be fleeced for the bus service ?
This is the GIIS culture that blog
members are trying to bring out into the open.
Out of every 1 $ paid for notebooks, 50cents may be profit (who knows ?)
If 4000 NRI 'not-so-broke' parents pay 'just 1$ a day' towards GIF 'charity' (out of ignorance, laziness and misplaced goodwill),
GIF chairman can laugh all the way to the bank. You (and I) are culprits in encouraging corrupt behaviour by turning a blind ey.

Anonymous said...

Heard frm another parent that GIIS is calling for transport tender. I hope it is open tender to get good bus service and not just eye wash.

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year to all parents. My new Year hopes:

1. Hope that new transport contractor starting from tomorrow will do a better job than T n G. (So the previous comment in October about GIIS bus tendor notice turned out to be true, not just rumour. good job to all the guys sniffing out info and sharing the news thru blogs and emails)

2. Hope GIIS academic side also will pick up. This is a recession year, obviously we cannot spend a lot on tuition and getting extra help for the kid so the school should do more.

Best of luck to all students preparing for exams, best wishes to parents, teachers and admin staff.

Have a nice year in singapore !!!!