Lower-income 'shielded': Not everyone will be hit by public transport fare hike

The Public Transport Council (PTC) has decided on an overall fare increase of 2.8 per cent, but more than 1.1 million commuters should see no change in the fares they pay.

When the changes take effect on April 5, adult card fares for buses and trains will increase by 2 to 5 cents, while student concessionary fares will increase by 1 cent.

But lower-wage workers, those with disabilities, senior citizens, young children and commuters using monthly concession passes will be "shielded" from the increase.

Central to the recommendations "is the principle that fares should be kept affordable for lower-income households while ensuring the viability and sustainability of the public transport system," said the council in a statement yesterday.

It said:

"Concession passes for adults, national servicemen, senior citizens and students will remain the same.
"Cash fares for adult bus and train rides will increase by 10 cents, while senior citizen and student cash fares will remain unchanged.
"Commuters are encouraged to use contactless smart cards, instead of paying cash fares, to enjoy lower fares for travel on public transport."

From July, the Government will be introducing new off-peak travel passes for adults, persons with disabilities and senior citizens.

For $80 a month, commuters will get unlimited travel on buses and trains during off-peak hours on weekdays, and throughout the day on weekends and public holidays

As part of the fare review exercise, the PTC decided that SBS Transit and SMRT should respectively contribute $5.5 million and $8 million of the increased fare revenue to the Public Transport Fund. This is $2 million more than their contribution last year.

The PTC noted that the Government will utilise the Public Transport Fund to provide Public Transport Vouchers to lower-income households to mitigate the increase in their travel expenditure.