The contract between the Land Transport Authority and SMRT does allow for private charters, subject to approval ("SMRT faces sanctions for allowing private use of trains"; Wednesday). Unfortunately, SMRT ignored the protocol.
I am sure Dr Collin Ho Yih Xian ("Creative ideas should be encouraged, not condemned"; Thursday) will agree that closing an eye to such indiscretions will send the wrong message about integrity.
What is the point of having contractual obligations and regulations if they can be flouted without consequences?
I am relieved that the plan went rather smoothly, for I shudder to imagine the backlash if public services had been compromised by it.
In the interest of transparency, perhaps SMRT can reveal how much it charged the school for the service.
The whole journey is circuitously long compared to a trip by private coach via the Ayer Rajah Expressway and East Coast Parkway.
Given the hassle involved, I am surprised Dr Ho could have considered the whole exercise a "unique, cost-effective way to foster cohesion and school spirit among the students".
Aren't there far more creative ways of achieving the same purpose, such as sending the children to boot camp to teach them some independent survival skills?
I hope SMRT and supporters of the move can understand the key difference between providing private charters to ferry students from various schools for national events, and one that served a specific student body at a time when the general perception of SMRT as a public transport operator is far from stellar.
Toh Cheng Seong
This article was first published on Aug 30, 2014.
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