SINGAPORE: Heads up, if you're a frequent commuter - train and bus fares are set to go up for most commuter groups towards the end of the year, with the Public Transport Council (PTC) on Tuesday (Oct 8) announcing new fare hikes.
For adults who use travel cards, fares will go up by 7 per cent, the maximum allowable increase under this year’s fare review exercise. There will also be increases and changes for those who qualify for concessions. The new changes will kick in on Dec 28.
READ: Bus, train fares to go up by 9 cents from Dec 28 for adult card users: Public Transport Council
Here’s what you need to know, if you...
ARE AN ADULT COMMUTER
Bus and train fares for adult card users will rise by 9 cents per journey – an increase of 7 per cent. Cash fares and single-trip tickets will see a steeper 20-cent increase.
If you use an adult monthly travel pass, this will go up by S$8, from S$120 to S$128.
ARE A POLY STUDENT
But it’s good news if you’re a polytechnic or diploma student, because you’ll now qualify for the student concessionary fare (at the moment, these students pay adult fares unless they use a monthly concession pass).
Student concessionary card fares will be capped at 63 cents for each journey, instead of up to S$2.17.
More than 80,000 polytechnic and other diploma students are expected to benefit, with savings in card fares of up to S$1.54 per journey.
QUALIFY FOR OTHER CONCESSIONS
For students, senior citizens, lower-wage workers and people with disabilities, card fares will go up by 4 cents per journey.
For example, senior citizen card fares for trains will be capped at 92 cents, up from the current 88 cents.
USE A MONTHLY TRAVEL OR CONCESSION PASS
The prices for monthly passes will go up. An adult monthly travel pass will go up by S$8, while monthly concession passes will go up by between S$1 and S$5.50, depending on the commuter group.
For example, a hybrid monthly concession pass for senior citizens will now cost S$64, up from S$60; while a university student or Full-Time National Serviceman will have to fork out S$90.50 for a pass, which is S$5.50 more a month.
QUALIFY FOR PUBLIC TRANSPORT VOUCHERS
A total of 450,000 public transport vouchers will be distributed to lower-income groups to help "cushion the impact" of higher fares on them, authorities said.
The value of the vouchers will increase from S$30 to S$50.
SBS Transit and SMRT will contribute about S$3.89 million in total to the Public Transport Fund, more than double last year’s contribution. The Government will also make a top-up of around S$6 million to the fund.
EARLY BIRDS STILL GET THE PRE-PEAK DISCOUNT
It’ll still pay to get out the door early on weekdays - those who tap in at any rail station before 7.45am (excluding public holidays) will still enjoy a pre-peak discount of up to 50 cents on their cards.
SO WHAT’S DRIVING ALL THIS?
Basically, it’s costing more to run public transport. Energy prices rose worldwide last year, plus higher wages and “other macroeconomic factors” have put higher cost pressures on operators, authorities said.
Also, public transport operators performed badly in the last financial year, incurring losses on their rail operations.
SBS Transit said its rail operations have been facing “significant cost pressures” since 2013, as a result of the Downtown Line operation. Manpower costs have been rising due to an increase in headcount and salary adjustment to attract and retain staff members. Overall, SBS Transit’s train division has lost "tens of millions of dollars" in its latest reported financial year.
Similarly, SMRT Trains cited growing operating costs for their rail operations in their application for the 7 per cent fare adjustment. For the financial year ending in March, SMRT Trains recorded a net loss of S$155 million.