26 December 2011

A Contrarian View of the MRT Service Disruption

A breakdown of the MRT system that leaves trains and passengers stranded between stations is probably the most unfortunate thing to happen to a service provider.

When a bus breaks down, passengers can disembark and wait for another bus.  But when several trains lose power simultaneously, none of the passengers can disembark unless and until it is safe to do so.  Sometimes they have to wait for trained personnel to guide them to the next station on foot.  At other times, they have to wait for the train to be towed to the next station.  From there, they can continue using bus-bridges.  All these take place under the full glare of the public and the media.

The purpose of this article is to present a different view on some aspects of the service disruptions.

12 December 2011

Why ComfortDelGro Revised Its Taxi Fares

What does an organisation do when the services that it provides cannot cope with demand?

Noting changing trends in the demand for taxi services, in particular, strong population growth, increase in tourist arrivals due in part to the opening of the integrated resorts, opening of more shopping malls, and a more vibrant night life, which have driven up demand for taxi services throughout the day including traditionally off-peak hours and weekends and public holidays, Singapore's largest taxi operator ComfortDelGro revised its taxi fare structure to better match supply with the ever-growing demand for taxi services.

07 December 2011

Scrapping the Employment Pass Eligibility Certificate

The Employment Pass Eligibility Certificate (“EPEC”) scheme was discontinued recently after being in force for almost 20 years as it had not met its aim of helping companies recruit good calibre candidates, according to Ministry of Manpower.

EPECs were previously issued to applicants who fulfilled certain criteria, such as possessing selected university qualifications or being current or former holders of selected skilled migrant visas, and were therefore likely to be eligible for an Employment Pass if they managed to secure employment here.  An EPEC was valid for two years and allowed its holder to stay in Singapore for up to one year to facilitate his/her job search in Singapore.

With the scrapping of the EPEC, foreigners graduating from selected institutions of higher learning in Singapore may henceforth apply for a one-year Long Term Visit Pass to stay in Singapore after graduation to look for a job.

Other foreigners may apply for a three-month Long Term Visit Pass.

The EPEC scheme appears to be one of those schemes that were introduced years ago, and then probably forgotten.  It is right and timely to withdraw it if it is not fulfilling its objectives.

But was the EPEC scheme necessary in the first place?  An EPEC allowed its holder to stay in Singapore for one year, but the holder was not permitted to work because the EPEC was not a work pass.  How did the holder sustain himself for one year if he did not work?  Or was the holder employed surreptitiously and illegally?  A three-month Long Term Visit Pass is more than enough.