Singapore to provide bus, train fare concessions for low-income commuters

Published on : Wednesday, November 13, 2013

imagesThe Singapore government said on Monday it fully accepted recommendations made by a committee, including bus and train fare concessions for low-income commuters and those with disabilities.


The concession schemes, which will be funded by the government, are likely to be implemented in the first half of 2014, Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew said in parliament.


Lui said that an estimated half a million Singaporeans will be eligible, bringing the number of commuters enjoying various fare concessions from 1.2 million to 1.7 million.


Lui said that the government accepted the proposals made by the Fare Review Mechanism Committee in full.


The committee was appointed last year by the government to review the framework for public transport fare adjustments. It was scheduled to present its recommendations early this year but the committee had said it needed time to gather quantitative feedback.


Lui said that the details of the concession schemes have yet to be worked out. The Public Transport Council has to apply the new fare formula for the next fare review exercise and consider how to incorporate the recommendations on existing concessions.


The transport minister said that his intention is to ensure that the discounts will more than offset any fare increase in the next fare exercise.


He also urged the Public Transport Council to consider not granting any fare increase in the next round of adjustment that exceeds the average national wage increase this year.


“This will avoid an outcome where fares suddenly become less affordable for the average commuter,” he said.


Lui also said that the government is raising the operating performance standards for public transport services, increasing penalties, and tightening the regulatory framework.


Starting next year, rail operators will be running more train trips throughout the day to bring down waiting times to no more than five minutes for most of the day.


They will also need to further reduce the number of short service delays below five minutes and strengthen their maintenance regimes to raise reliability levels. These improvements will come with stiffer penalties for non-compliance.


The Singapore authorities slapped penalties on the public transport operators recently for disruptions and delays in train services.

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