TL;DR – Rise in energy and labour costs pressures public transportation fares to increase.
The Public Transport Council (PTC) announced on Oct 12 that bus and train fares will increase by up to 5 cents due to rising energy costs from Dec 26.
To help lower and lower-middle income households – those with a monthly household income per person of not more than S$1,600 – the Government will hand out 600,000 public transport vouchers worth S$30 each, which can be used to top up fare cards or buy monthly concession passes.
The vouchers will be distributed in two stages.
The first stage will be carried out by end-December. Households that have received the vouchers in the 2021 exercise and if they continue to meet the income eligibility criteria, will automatically receive a notification letter through the mail, without having to apply.
The second stage will start from early 2023. Households that meet the income criteria but did not receive a voucher in the first stage can apply for them online or in person at their local community centres or community clubs.
All vouchers must be redeemed by Mar 31, 2024.
Rising energy and labour costs
The increase in fares of public transportation is a result of the rising energy prices, which rose by 117 per cent last year.
Increase in manpower costs and inflation led to a maximum allowable fare adjustment quantum of 13.5 per cent according to PTC’s fare adjustment formula.
However, the PTC decided to grant public transport operators a fare increase of just 2.9 per cent due to concerns over the rising cost of living. The remaining 10.6 percent will be carried over to future fare review exercises.
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Based on data from the Department of Statistics, about 1.8 per cent of household income goes to public transport for an average user.
Rising transportation costs
From Dec 26, adult card fares will increase by 4 cents for journeys up to 8.2 km long. For journeys longer than 8.2 km, fares will increase by 5 cents.
To illustrate, an MRT journey from Boon Lay to Clementi, where the distance is 8.2 km, the fare for an adult commuter will be S$1.45 instead of the current fare at S$1.41. Taking the MRT from HabourFront to Paya Lebar, where the distance is 11.5 km, will cost S$1.64 instead of the current fare at S$1.59.
Based on travel data, about 54% of adult journeys are less than 8.2 km, said the PTC.
The increase in concession card fares will be capped at 1 cent per journey to keep fares lower for students, and senior citizens, lower-wage workers, and people with disabilities.
There will be no change to the prices of monthly concession passes, adult monthly travel passes and bus cash fares.