I decided to calculate how much we have lost as a nation in terms of productivity.
The Gross Domestic Product per capita in Singapore was last recorded at 52600.60 US dollars in 2016 for that year. From here: https://tradingeconomics.com/singapore/gdp-per-capita
Total paid hours worked per employee per week in 2015 is 45.6. From here: http://stats.mom.gov.sg/Pages/Hours-Worked-Summary-Table.aspx
There are 52 weeks in a year. So, the GDP per capita per week is 52600/52=1011USD$. In a week, an average worker works 45.6hours. Therefore, per hour the average worker is paid 1011/45.6=22USD$
Granted, I did some rounding adjustments here and there, but this is the general pay. As of now, USD$22 = SGD$29.94. For ease of calculations in future, I will take it as a worker’s average hourly pay in Singapore is SGD$30. There are of course outliers, those who earn a lot less and a lot more, and perhaps I should take the median, but I was interested in getting fast results. Plus, workers who are affected by MRT breakdowns, will affect those higher up, even those who do not use MRT.
“LRT led the growth with an 18.4 per cent increase in ridership to 180,000 a day. The MRT followed with a 7.8 per cent rise to 3.1 million rides a day - the first time it has breached the three million mark.” This quote is from here: https://www.gov.sg/news/content/the-straits-times---bus-rail-ridership-soars-to-new-high
Total ridership of MRT alone is 3.1 million rides a day. There is a negligible amount of people taking the mrt outside of the peak hours. Not everyone take the MRT during the peak hours, but everyone is definitely somehow affected by this. Let’s round it down to 3 million during peak hour to make it easier to calculate for me.
Also, imagine that someone takes the MRT to work in the morning, then takes the MRT home at night. So, 3million/2= 1.5 million commuters in the morning and at evening.
Therefore, per hour of breakdown, we lose worker hourly average pay x number of workers= SGD$30 x 1.5million = SGD$4.5million
I wanted to limit my scope to this year only, because when I saw how many breakdowns were on the wikipedia page here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Singapore_MRT_disruptions , the list was too long to calculate, for the moment. (I need my sleep too.)
I will only count MRT breakdowns close to the morning rush and the evening rush. Evening rush is also included because if someone goes home later, they sleep later. (Not including how it affects the rest of the family, including kid’s bedtime and thus performance in school.)
This year, 2017: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Singapore_MRT_disruptions#2017
June: 2 hours
July: 2 hours
August: 2 + 1? + 1 + 0.25 + 1 = 5.25
September: 1 + 0.5 + 0.5 + 0.5 = 2.5
October: 0.5 + 20 = 20.5
Total: About 32.25 hours of train delay during peak hours
How much has Singapore lost due to the MRT breakdowns this year?
SGD$4.5million x 32.25 = SGD$145.125 million
Closing remarks: This is just a rudimentary calculation. There are a lot of various factors affecting how much we actually lost, including whether your boss makes you work overtime to pay for being late, how much SMRT spent on free bus fare, how much being late affects worker productivity in the hours after (because you’re sweaty after running/squeezing on the bus, worried if the mrt breaks down and you have an appointment in the evening), time spent on calling your boss and whole group to know you’re late, rescheduling, students late for psle, waiting for alternative transport like bus or cab, how long it takes the backlog of commuters to clear, etc.
All these factors are harder to calculate for me. What I’ve calculated is just dollar productivity lost of our working population. When we are facing an aging population, our people are our resource, and we all have only one life on this earth, our limited time should not be spent entertaining public transport breakdowns. All that time spent waiting for transport has led to hours lost that we all cannot get back even if we make people work longer. If people are made to work longer hours because of the breakdowns, or even if they are let home on time, but spend time waiting for the mrt to start again and actually get on, they have lost valuable moments.
Time with family and friends is worth even more than the $145 million we have lost as a country.