Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) had already decided to stop its shuttle bus services to the heartland areas at 11 pm on Sunday 12-9-10 and the directive from the Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA) for both the RWS and Marina Bay Sands (MBS) to stop their services abruptly in the early Friday afternoon is mind-boggling. The decision appeared to have been made impetuously by the CRA as it gives the public the impression of fluster at the top (including the MCYS Minister) over what adverse effect this problem could have on the PAP's election prospects if left doing nothing about it. There was apparently no thinking through on what consequences such abrupt stoppage of the shuttle services could have on the heartlanders, the bus operators and the fate of the hundreds of staff (including drivers) who will become jobless. Almost all the buses were newly bought with banking loans and the owners are now in a fix as to what to do with their buses and how they are going to service their loans.
Long before RWS was opened, the company had already planned to include shuttle bus services to the IR. This was with a view to encouraging car owners to use the shuttle services to the IR, thus not contributing to traffic congestion. The other objective is to provide free transport services to heartlander families to visit the IR as a form of requittal to society. There are amenities like the Universal Studios theme park, numerous shops and food outlets in RWS for the enjoyment of the families. They make it a family outing taking advantage of the convenience of the shuttle bus services. Now a so-called benevolent government has with a stroke of the pen deprived these deserving families of the enjoyment of the attractive amenities in RWS. Does the PAP government believe that such impetuous action will endear it to these families?
Is it logical to contend that prospective gamblers would take advantage of the free shuttle bus services to visit the casinos which would save them only a few dollars when a hefty $100 entry fee does not present any deterrence? They would still be visiting the casinos even without the free shuttle bus services. So just because of some misplaced notion on the part of the relevant authorities, heartlanders are deprived of the means of bringing their families on enjoyable outings to RWS.
Perhaps it may occur to our enterprising functionaries that depriving would-be gamblers of the free means of trnasport would not deter them from visiting casinos. There are already measures in place such as education to rehabilitate Singaporean gamblers to get them to eschew their gambling habits. Maybe the answer is to re-inforce these measures with more innovative ideas and not to look for fall guys to justify some bizarre action. Anyway, inveterate gamblers are a lost cause.