Ex-SMRT CEO Saw Phaik Hwa boasts: SMRT never ‘cut corners’ and I help to avert need for huge fare increase
Posted by temasektimes on March 19, 2012
Despite question marks over her management of SMRT in the wake of two disastrous breakdowns in December last year, its beleaguered ex-CEO Saw Phaik Hwa was adamant that her business strategy was correct.
In the latest post on her personal blog on Saturday, Ms Saw wrote:
“This was the first time I was faced with a business whereby costs escalated quickly but revenue did not grow at the same pace. Ridership was growing at a steady but slow two per cent annually, with limited or no fare increase.”
She claimed that as the company “can never cut corners” to improve margins, the “most obvious opportunity” was to make full use of its station assets – the space, adding that the monies brought in from maximising retail and advertising space benefited commuters.
“In doing all these, everyone benefitted. SMRT managed to raise commercial revenue from $28m to more than $100m and hence, averting the need for huge fare increases. With this growth in value of the organisation, shareholders and investors also got good returns,” she wrote.
Ms Saw was forced to resign from SMRT after she became a target of public opprobrium following two disastrous SMRT train disruptions in December last year. She is set to leave SMRT for good on 5 April.
Though she initially vow to stay on to fix the problems at SMRT in the immediate aftermath of the breakdowns, things began to “snowball” and that it was “very difficult because every faction was coming at us”.
She eventually tendered her resignation to SMRT in early January to “defuse the bubble” so SMRT could get on and “do what is right for the organization.”
Ms Saw also said she has received a few offers but has yet to decide, insisting that she is not planning to retire for good for another 5-10 years.