SINGAPORE: Adult commuters are set to pay an additional 10 to 11 cents per journey starting December, following the Public Transport Council’s (PTC) announcement on Monday regarding a 7% hike in bus and train fares. This increase is notably more than double that of last year’s adjustment.
The newly revealed fares, effective from 23 December 2023, are a result of PTC’s annual fare review. The prospect of even sharper hikes looms as the PTC continues to defer a large portion of the fare adjustment quantum to future reviews.
Breaking it down, adult card fares will go up by 10 cents for trips up to 4.2 km and 11 cents for longer distances. Adult cash fares for bus rides will rise by 20 cents, though monthly travel passes will remain at S$128.
This 11-cent increment marks the highest in recent times, given that the last significant increase of 7% was from a lower base in 2019.
However, there’s some relief for concession cardholders, including students, seniors, low-wage workers, and persons with disabilities, who will face a smaller hike of 4 to 5 cents, depending on the distance.
Their cash fares for buses will see an increase of 10 cents. Approximately two million Singaporeans fall into these concessionary categories.
Concession pass holders, particularly students, seniors, and full-time National Servicemen, can expect a 10% reduction in their hybrid monthly passes.
Furthermore, passes for individuals with disabilities will now cost S$58, matching the pricing for seniors.
The new workfare transport hybrid monthly concession pass, introduced for lower-wage workers, is set at S$96.
A flashback to the 2022 fare review reveals a 2.9% fare increase. Interestingly, this year’s 7% rise is a mere fraction of the potential 22.6% increase, which combines last year’s deferred hike of 10.6% and this year’s 12%.
PTC’s Chair, Janet Ang, emphasized the decision to cap the fare increase at 7% was influenced by the present higher cost environment, marked by core inflation, robust wage growth, and surging energy prices.
This capsulation means that 15.6% will be carried forward to future reviews.
PTC’s Chief Executive, Tan Kim Hong, underlined the potential of more fare hikes in upcoming years, but the challenge remains in striking a balance between commuter needs and taxpayer contributions.
He also emphasized that the previous fare formula (2018-2022) is outdated due to the current operating environment. The new formula introduced this year aims to align with the changing dynamics, especially with ridership not fully rebounding to pre-pandemic levels.
The government will extend its support, with an additional subsidy of about S$300 million for this year’s fare review, up from last year’s S$200 million.
In conjunction, transport operators SBS Transit and SMRT Trains are mandated to significantly contribute to the Public Transport Fund, amounting to a collective S$15.85 million.
The PTC suggests these funds be used to offer further assistance to lower-income households via public transport vouchers, ensuring that transportation remains accessible for all Singaporeans.
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