Thursday, February 19, 2009

Singapore: EZ-Link bus and train fares will be lowered from April 1.

The Public Transport Council (PTC) announced Thursday that there will be an overall 4.6% reduction in fares, comprising both a fare rebate and an increase in transfer rebate.

The transfer rebate for all adult and senior citizen concession EZ-Link journeys will be increased by 10 cents, to 50 cents from 1 April 2009.

The existing 10-cent transfer rebate for child/student concession EZ-Link fares will remain unchanged.

However, all adult EZ-Link fares for buses and trains will enjoy a reduction of 2 cents per trip, across all fare bands.

As for child/student concession EZ-Link fares, these will be reduced by 1 cent per trip, across all fare bands.

This balances out to lower fares overall.

EZ-Link fares for adult and senior citizen concession journeys for instance could see a fare reduction of 2 cents for a direct journey with no transfer, to a reduction of 14 cents for a journey with 1 transfer.

Journeys with multiple transfers will see correspondingly greater fare reductions, of up to 38 cents.

Chairman of the PTC, Gerard Ee, said due credit must be given to the transport operators for their decision.

“The PTC is pleased that the operators are mindful of prevailing economic conditions... not only are they not applying for a fare increase, they have decided to give a fare rebate to commuters."

The PTC said the public transport operators decided to bear a larger share (two-thirds) of the cost of this year’s 10 cent increase in transfer rebate to benefit commuters. The move translates into a permanent revenue loss of $22 million per year for transport operators.

Mr Gan Juay Kiat, Chief Operating Officer of SBS Transit, said: “These are difficult times and we believe in doing our bit to help our commuters."

"As commuters are increasingly relying on public transport for their travel needs, we believe these measures will bring some relief to them, and in part, help lower their cost of living” added President of SMRT Corp,Saw Phaik Hwa.

In addition to the fare adjustments, the pricing on all monthly concession passes will be reduced by between $1 and $4.

The monthly primary and secondary student bus and train concession passes will become $1 lower while the student hybrid concession passes will be reduced by $2.

As for tertiary students and National Service-men, their monthly bus and train concession passes will be down by $2 while the hybrid concession passes will see a $4 reduction.

There is no change to all cash fares for buses and single-trip ticket fares for trains.

The PTC said the 4.6% fare reduction package which stretches over a 15-month period (from 1 April 2009 to 30 June 2010) will cost public transport operators about $80 million.

It comprises a fare rebate of $52 million, of which about $37 million are the savings from the Government Budget measures that the transport operators are passing on to commuters. Another $28 million is the amount over a 15-month period to fund the transfer rebate increase.

It was announced in January that both SBS Transit and SMRT would not apply for fare adjustments in 2009 and instead work with the Public Transport Council to pass the savings from the 2009 Singapore Budget to commuters.

The next time train and bus fares can be adjusted will be in July 2010, and the full implementation of distance-based through-fares could take place then.

Transport operators in the past submitted fare revision proposals to the PTC in August for changes to be implemented in October.

However the PTC said Thursday that it has decided that submissions and approvals for fare revisions will be brought forward in 2010 to May-July in view of the rapidly changing economic conditions.


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