Public transport in Singapore second most affordable out of 12 cities: PTC-commissioned study

Public transport in Singapore second most affordable out of 12 cities: PTC-commissioned study

smrt and sbs
File photo of an SBS Transit bus and an SMRT train. (Photo: Ooi Boon Keong / TODAY)

SINGAPORE: Singapore is the second most affordable city for public transport, according to a study comparing trends in public transport fares across 12 major cities.

The Nanyang Technological University (NTU) study - which was commissioned by the Public Transport Council (PTC) - compared trends in public transport fares across the cities in terms of concessionary fares, fare affordability and fare revenue per passenger kilometre.

The cities include London, Beijing, Sydney, Seoul, Paris, Hong Kong, Taipei, Toronto, New York, Tokyo and San Francisco.

The study measured fare affordability as the proportion of disposable income spent on public transport by a household in the second quintile household income group.

This quintile was chosen because it is the group "most likely to depend on public transport regularly", said the study.

"To allow comparability of public transport affordability across the cities, an index illustrating the costs incurred by a typical family with two working adults and two schoolgoing/school age children as a percentage of household disposable income was developed," it said.

Based on this, Singapore came in second after San Francisco in terms of fare affordability with an index score of 4.8, compared with San Francisco's score of 4.1.

This means that on average, a typical family that uses public transport on a daily basis in Singapore spends about 4.8 per cent of its disposable income on public transport, said the study.

It noted that in San Francisco, which topped the ranking, public transport expenditure was 28 per cent higher than Singapore and disposable income was 48 per cent higher.

Table comparing fare affordability between 12 major cities
(Image: Nanyang Technological University)

Singapore's senior citizen and student concessionary fares were also among the lowest across the 12 cities compared, according to the study.

Seniors in Singapore, London and Sydney pay concessionary fares at age 60 while other cities have lower fares for seniors only at age 65 or 70.

The study also found that Singapore collected the lowest fare revenue per passenger kilometre, when compared with Hong Kong, Sydney, Toronto, New York, San Francisco and London. 

In 2016, fare revenue per passenger kilometre in Singapore was S$0.11, while in Hong Kong, which ranked second, it was S$0.14.

Due to data limitations, only these seven cities with publicly available data were used for this comparison category.

Source: CNA/nc(hm)

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