Monday, February 11, 2013

Use smaller buses on less popular routes

Feb 12, 2013

I HAVE noticed that during off-peak periods and on certain routes, buses have few or no passengers.

Though it may be unprofitable to run these routes and at those times, bus companies cannot pick and choose when and where to send out buses.

What they can do in such cases is to use smaller buses instead.

[My New Year's Resolution is to be more positive, so I'll just be kind and not rant on this forum letter... 

Like HELL! 

Okay to be fair, it may seem like an OBVIOUS answer to a sparsely
occupied bus to think if it might be less wasteful to use a smaller bus. And it is NICE that the writer actually spares a thought about the bus company instead of himself, and actually took the time to write a letter to make a suggestion to cut costs. Okay now I feel GUILTY about singling out this letter for this blog!

Careful studies must be made of passenger loads, their timing and the various locations served.

[Oh wait! Now I remember why I picked this letter! The usual arrogance of letter writers who assume that people run their business the way the writer runs his life. "Careful study"? Instead of the obviously randomly designed and assigned bus routes? If you wanna suggest "careful study", you first should make a case that there was "careless study" in the first place, and no, sparsely occupied buses during off peak hours do not count!]

The main consideration is that passengers must not be inconvenienced.

[And now, we get to HIS problem...]

Smaller buses will give bus companies immediate savings in terms of capital expenditure as the running cost (petrol and maintenance) will be lower.

[No it won't. "Running costs" and "Capital Expenditure" are two separate things. But let's assume this was a badly MANGLED letter that was mangled by the ST forum editor. So first question, will there be immediate savings from buying a smaller bus? Yes, there probably would but the writer did not provide a comparison of costs for the different buses (I guess he didn't want to carry out a "careful study"... even via google search) so we can't be sure!

Why is this even important, you might ask. A savings is a savings. Does it matter how much?

Yes it does, because while he goes on to again make a general statement about savings in running costs - again no first-cut estimates, just a nod and a wink and a "you know, I know lah" - because fuel (diesel, not petrol you ignoramus! STOP being so PICKY, lobo! I can't help it! I started this blog to rant on the stupid, the ignorant and the ARROGANT!), and maintenance savings, if any, are NOT likely to be HUGE.

But instead, to run another fleet of small buses, means a whole additional set of logistics for these buses (washing, cleaning, supplies, spare parts/replacement parts) and also a whole different set of training (training for mechanics to service and maintain these new smaller buses), regulatory compliance (would EURO IV compliance apply?). So against those savings, must be offset the increase costs. AND, he should provide the additional costs estimates as well, in order to make his case that it would be cheaper to run an additional fleet of smaller vehicles, in order to arrive at this conclusion:]

Hopefully, this will translate into lower fares for commuters, or at least a maintaining of fares or a slowdown in their increase.

[Aaaand the other shoe drops. All this to save him a few cents. And this is another example in our continuing series on Singaporeans who want other people to go out of their way to change their operations/processes in order to save them a few cents!]

Ong Eng Joo

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