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PTC reviews concessionary fares for students following parliamentary inquiry by Assoc Prof Jamus Lim

Singapore’s Public Transport Council is reviewing extending concessionary fares for students in transition phases, following Workers’ Party MP Assoc Prof Jamus Lim’s query on fare adjustments after school completion.



The Public Transport Council (PTC) of Singapore is actively reviewing a proposal to extend concessionary fares for students transitioning between educational stages or entering the workforce.

Transport Minister Mr Chee Hong Tat announced on 28 May via a Facebook post that the review is part of the 2024 fare adjustment exercise, influenced by feedback from both parents and students.

Currently, graduating students are eligible for concessionary fares only for a month post-graduation, leaving those entering polytechnics facing a two-month gap during which they must pay adult fares.

The proposal aims to alleviate financial strains on students from various educational pathways, including those transitioning from the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) to polytechnics or from secondary schools to ITE.

Mr Chee expressed openness to extending this support to students entering the workforce, highlighting the broader applicability of the proposed fare adjustments.

Concessionary fares currently allow students to travel for between 48 cents and 70 cents per trip, significantly less than the $1.09 to $2.37 charged to adults. Additionally, students can purchase a hybrid monthly concession pass for $49, offering unlimited bus and train rides, whereas the adult version costs $128.

The fare review, led by the PTC—a statutory board under the Ministry of Transport—is scheduled to commence later this year, with fare revisions typically announced in December.

The review follows a recent fare adjustment on December 23, 2023, which saw an increase in adult fares and a slight rise in student fares as well.

However, Mr Chee did not mention in his announcement of the review a specific query raised by Assoc Prof Jamus Lim, Workers’ Party Member of Parliament for Sengkang GRC.

Just this month, Assoc Prof Lim inquired via a parliamentary question whether the Ministry of Transport had considered extending concessionary fares for students awaiting the next stage of education after completing courses like the GCE “A” Level or International Baccalaureate, provided proof of admission was available.

In a sidestep, Mr Chee responded vaguely, noting, “The Member could be asking this question because he may not be aware that students who progress to the universities after their A-levels or International Baccalaureate are paying adult fares on a per journey basis.”

Assoc Prof Lim responded to Mr Chee’s reply in a Facebook post, underscoring the pattern of government agencies deflecting or trivializing public concerns.

He wrote, “One of the frustrations that Singaporeans face with their dealings with government agencies is that they complain about how many may ‘taichi’ their concerns, either by bouncing the matter to other agencies or by skirting around the main problem by appealing to pedantic details.”

Despite the potential for misinterpretation, Assoc Prof Lim stressed that the spirit of his question was clear and addressed a significant financial disparity: the adult monthly travel pass costs $128, compared to the $81 hybrid undergraduate pass that includes both bus and train travel.

This issue, he argued, remains unresolved and indicative of a larger pattern of inadequate responses to public inquiries.

He noted the potential for misunderstanding due to the specific language used in his inquiry but reiterated that his question directly addressed a significant and unresolved financial disparity affecting students.

“Still, I felt that the spirit of the question was sound, and all the more since an adult monthly travel pass (at $128) is significantly more expensive than the undergraduate pass (at $81 for the hybrid version that allows both bus and train travel). So, alas, the fundamental concern remained unresolved.”

Concluding his remarks, Prof Lim announced his intention to refile a reworded version of the Parliamentary Question. He expressed a hope that revisiting the issue might foster a deeper understanding and prompt a more constructive discussion on improving government responsiveness to public needs.

Perhaps the announced intention to refile the question by Assoc Prof Lim spurred Mr Chee and the PTC into action despite having received feedback from parents and students on the concession passes over the years.

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We are grateful for what the opposition members of parliament have done. An informed and involved citizenry must now be aware of the dire need to continually vote more opposition party members like Jamus and Chee Soon Juan into parliament to represent our citizens’ voice and interests. It is what a healthy, thriving democracy needs – real voice and real actions by the people for the people.

These public transport companies are reported to make iincreasing profits year after year after year.

SG is their captured, catchment markets. Basically they are monopolies supported and hands held by the PAP Administration.

Even Mah Bow Tan once THREATENED Singaporeans to live with poor bus services, bus breakdowns, delayed services if public transport fares are NOT ALLOWED to increase. WTF, Politician USING his OFFICIAL POWER to BITE the hands that FED HIM.

Who is the PAP Administration for – we have your backs, A PURE PACK of Lies.

Singaporeans are paying more for public transport. Yet service has not improved. In fact, with each passing year, more bus routes are pruned or shortened. All under the guise to “improve service.” Bus bunching is still common, bus frequency is slow to increase with higher demand. Bus interchanges have been increasingly shifted to inconvenient spaces, such as within shopping malls or private developments and further away from train stations. The best example for this phenomenon is Jurong East, where once upon a time. You were one escalator ride away from the bus interchange after exiting the MRT station. Now you… Read more »

Jamus Lim is absolutely right. It is frustrating dealing with govt. agencies because they are not direct in communication and this is with intent. The cost of the Simply Go has not been revealed up to date. All MPs are elected to serve the Public so they are required to be transparent and accountable to the Public. Somehow this has been lost on the PAP MPs. The Opposition has to keep refiling questions repeatedly to,”force,” a reply from the PAP ruling party. Only in Singapore!