SINGAPORE: The Public Transport Council (PTC) has started its review of the public transport fare adjustment formula and mechanism, it said on Wednesday (Apr 5).
The council, an independent body which regulates public transport fares, targets to complete the review by the first quarter of next year, and apply it starting from the 2018 annual fare review exercise.
PTC said it will review the effectiveness of the current fare adjustment formula and mechanism, and propose improvements while keeping in mind the changes to the public transport industry.
“The review shall focus on maintaining a good balance in keeping public transport fares affordable while ensuring the financial viability of the public transport system,” it said.
The council also said it will “consult widely” on the review, and engage commuters, public transport operators and transport experts.
The current fare adjustment formula was introduced in 2013, and is valid for five years until after the fare review exercise in 2017.
SERVICE IMPROVEMENTS COME AT A COST: PTC CHAIRMAN
PTC chairman Richard Magnus said in a blogpost that the council will ensure fares remain affordable for commuters, while considering the financial viability of Singapore’s public transport system.
Since the current fare formula was introduced, the public transport system has seen significant changes, Mr Magnus said.
He noted that new buses and trains have been added to ease crowding, and the rail infrastructure has been upgraded. The Government has taken over the ownership of bus and rail assets, and imposed stricter service standards on transport operators.
“These changes have resulted in service improvements. Ridership has also grown. Bus services have become less crowded. The trains have also become more reliable,” he wrote.
During the Committee of Supply debate, the Government said it expects to spend close to S$4 billion over the next five years to subsidise public bus services and another S$4 billion on replacing rail assets – on top of S$20 billion to build new public transport infrastructure.
“Service improvements come at a cost. There will need to be equitable cost sharing among commuters, taxpayers and public transport operators,” Mr Magnus said.