entirely by the Government and pays for the development and software cost of the contactless smartcard system. . In addition, public buses are also exempted from paying COE. Therefore, bus and train operators are mostly responsible for operations, maintenance costs and investments in service improvements and purchases of trains and buses. The government also set up the Public Transport Council (PTC) to regulate bus and train fares; the PTC carries out its statutory mandate to safeguard public interest by keeping fares affordable while ensuring the long-term financial viability of the public transport operators. In order to provide an efficient and convenient public transport to the public, the government implements the reward and fines scheme to improve bus reliability to ensure that buses arrive at the bus stops at more regular interval. It also discourages public from purchasing motor vehicles by increasing the COE prices of the motor vehicles, reducing the loan quantum for purchase of new cars to 50% to 60% and shorten the loan tenor from ten years to five years in 2013. In conclusion, the government is supportive of the public transport industry and expected to implement policies that enable the public transport operators to provide a convenient and efficient transport services to the commuters. It will also build more public transport infrastructure in the future to further discourage people from purchasing motor vehicles due to its land scarcity. 2.3 Labour Conditions 6
Since SMRT operates in the transport industry, it requires lots of manpower to operate the buses and trains in order to generate fare revenue to sustain the operations of the business. Thus, labour conditions would be one of the key factor that will affect SMRT. As Singapore has a highly educated workforce that consists of 51.5% of them having at least tertiary education, they might not be keen to be a bus captain or train operator as the job scope is mundane because it requires long and irregular working hours as the company operates on a rotating shift basis and the salary may not be attractive for them to join. In addition, locals perception on being a bus captain and train operator are deemed as jobs for people who are lowly-educated with no future prospects due to the lack of career progression. Hence, it will be difficult to hire locals which will lead to a labour crunch for SMRT with increasing demand for public transport. Furthermore, with tightening foreign labour policy by the government to reduce reliance on foreign labour by imposing dependency ratio ceiling and increased foreign work levies, it will be made even harder for SMRT to hire foreign bus drivers and the costs of hiring them will also increase which would translate to higher staff costs and higher operating expenses.
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