SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Education (MOE) announced on Thursday (24 Aug) there will be an increase in the cost of school bus services in 2024, indicating that operators will be allowed to raise the pricing cap of school bus fares by up to 13 per cent for existing contracts.
The rationale behind this adjustment, as stated by the ministry, is to ensure the sustainability of school bus services in the face of escalating operational expenses.
Notably, the pricing cap had previously been adjusted in January 2023, allowing a rise of up to 7 per cent for existing contracts.
However, the latest increase is deemed necessary due to the mounting cost pressures experienced by the operators.
In its statement, MOE highlighted that this move will play a pivotal role in minimizing the potential for disruptions and inconvenience to families, particularly if the incumbent operators struggle to maintain their operations.
Starting from September, operators will duly inform parents and guardians about any revisions to bus fares.
Under MOE’s Financial Assistance Scheme, primary school pupils will continue to benefit from school bus subsidies, covering 65 per cent of their monthly fares.
This represents an increase from the 60 per cent subsidy provided in January.
The local school bus sector has grappled with a shortage of drivers, causing issues for various firms, including ComfortDelGro Bus, which terminated its contracts with schools prematurely, according to a report by The Straits Times in May.
To address this driver shortage, MOE unveiled measures in June, including the authorization for selected school bus operators to recruit more foreign workers.