SINGAPORE: Public transport fares will be reduced by 4.2 per cent from Dec 30, the Public Transport Council (PTC) announced on Thursday (27 Oct). This means commuters will see a fare reduction of up to 27 cents per trip.
A further 1.5 per cent reduction will be carried forward to the next fare review exercise.
A total reduction of 5.7 per cent is the maximum quantum allowed in the fare adjustment formula, which takes into account wages, core inflation and energy costs. Last year, transport fares were cut by up to 1.9 per cent.
About 2.2 million commuters are expected to benefit from the fare revision.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, chairman of the PTC Richard Magnus explained why the fare reduction is divided into two phases.
“We are not sure what is going to happen next year. The economy is suffering some challenges; the oil prices are quite volatile. So we will be able to carry that through in order to sustain our public transport system,” he said.
SIMPLER FARE STRUCTURE
The PTC is also introducing a simplified fare system. From Dec 30, the PTC will calculate transport fares based on the distance travelled. Currently, rail fares are determined by the distance of the fastest travel path, which includes walking and waiting time.
"We have received feedback that using the current system has caused a lot of disparity in terms of the fare. So we took the opportunity now to use the distance-based system and that gives us an opportunity to tidy up the system," said Mr Magnus.
Transport fares for fully-underground lines - the North-East Line, Circle Line and Downtown Line - will be reduced to the same level as above-ground options, which covers the North-South and East-West Lines, LRT and buses.
Currently, fully-underground lines have a different fare structure from above-ground lines. Different fares were introduced in 2003 with the opening of the North-East Line because of its higher operating costs.
To illustrate, a commuter travelling from Park Royal Hotel at Beach Road to Paya Lebar currently has the option of taking either the East-West Line from Bugis or the Circle Line from Nicoll Highway. While the distance between Bugis-Paya Lebar (4.8km) and Nicoll Highway– Paya Lebar (4.4km) is similar, the fares for the latter are currently 15 cents higher. With fare standardisation, the fares for both trips will be equalised, giving commuters the flexibility to choose the path most convenient to them, a PTC spokesperson said.
“The introduction of a simpler fare system allows commuters to get to their destinations by any public transport mode, whether it is an above-ground or fully-underground MRT line, or bus, without worrying about the cost differential,” said Mr Magnus. “This will benefit commuters further as more new fully-underground lines are opened in the coming years.”
Senior citizens’ concessionary card fares will be reduced by 1 to 7 cents while student concessionary card fares will be cut by 1 cent. The prices of all monthly concession passes and monthly travel passes will remain unchanged.
The fare reduction of 4.2 per cent translates to a total decrease in fare revenue of about S$79 million a year for SBS Transit, SMRT and the Land Transport Authority, said PTC. SBS Transit's fare revenue will fall by S$8.9 million, SMRT's will decline by S$34.6 million and LTA will see a drop of S$35.6 million.
As fares are being reduced, public transport operators are not required to contribute to the Public Transport Fund this time round.
Credit: Public Transport Council
LOWER CONCESSIONARY CARD FARES
The Ministry of Transport also announced it will reduce concessionary card fares for lower-wage workers by 1 to 25 cents.
Concessionary card fares for people with disability will also be reduced by 1 to 7 cents.
The price of the monthly concession pass and off-peak pass for people with disabilities will remain unchanged at S$60 and S$40 respectively.