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     FrontPage Edition: Tue 12 September 2006

Bus and train fares to increase by between 1 and 3 cents



From 1 October 2006, adult EZ-Link fares for buses and trains will increase by between 1 and 3 cents.
Senior citizen off-peak EZ-Link fares which are flat fares pegged to the lowest adult EZ-Link fare band will correspondingly increase by 1 cent.
There are no increases in cash fares for buses, single trip tickets for trains, child/student fares and monthly student/NS men concession passes.
In August 2006, the public transport operators SMRT Corp (SMRT) and SBS Transit (SBST) had applied to the Public Transport Council (PTC) for an increase in bus and train fares.
The PTC deliberated on the PTOs¡¯ fare proposals and approved an overall fare increase of 1.7% this year, taking into account the fare adjustment cap formula introduced in 2005.
With the positive economic outlook where the latest GDP growth forecast for 2006 has been revised upwards to 6.5% - 7.5%[1] and the unemployment rate for June 2006 has been estimated at 2.9%[2], the PTC assessed that there were no extenuating circumstances that required it to either vary the fare adjustment quantum determined by the formula or to reject it.
Fare Increase Kept Small For Most Commuters
The PTC approved a tiered increase in adult EZ-Link fares of 1 to 3 cents depending on the distance travelled. The tiered increase minimises the impact on commuters who make short trips or transfers, as the first fare band of both bus and train fares will see an increase of only 1 cent.
Senior citizen off-peak EZ-Link bus and train fares, which are flat fares pegged to the lowest adult EZ-Link fare band will also be increased by 1 cent. For example, regardless of the distance travelled, the revised senior citizen bus fare is 65 cents, while the revised fare for travel on the East-West and North-South MRT Lines is 66 cents.
Of all the bus and train trips, 6 in 10 will see either no increase (23%) or an increase of only 1 cent (37%). 24% of trips will see an increase of 2 cents while the remaining 16% see an increase of 3 cents (refer to Fact Sheet, paragraphs 8 ¨C 10).
Help for Needy Families
The PTC has always been concerned about the affordability of public transport fares. It monitors affordability for the general public by tracking the percentage of monthly household income spent on public transport by a characteristic family in the second quintile (21st to 40th percentile) household income group which is considered representative of the average public transport commuter as recommended by the Committee on the Fare Review Mechanism (FRMC) in 2005.
The public transport affordability indicator has been on a down-trend from 2003 (7.0%) to 2004 (6.8%) and 2005 (6.6%), indicating that fares have remained affordable for the representative household.
While public transport fares remain affordable for the majority of commuters, needy families may need more help. The approach for helping such families has been to provide targeted help via community-led initiatives and work support schemes under MCYS/Community Development Councils.
Mr Gerard Ee, Chairman of the PTC said, ¡°We understand that commuters will feel the impact of a fare increase, no matter how small. The PTC in approving this fare increase has taken care to ensure that fares remain affordable for the majority of commuters relative to their updated income. However, we recognize that there is a segment of needy households which will need some help to adjust to the higher fares.
I am heartened to hear that the public transport operators will be contributing resources in the form of transport vouchers to help needy families in coping with the fare increase by defraying some of their costs. This is part of the government¡¯s ¡®Many Helping Hands¡¯ approach where the government, community/grassroots organisations and the private sector all chip in to help.
The PTC will continue to work with the public transport operators to ensure that their service levels continue to improve over time, especially through the use of the new Quality of Service standards for buses.¡±
Please refer to the fact sheet for more details.
Approved Bus and Train Fare Adjustments
The approved bus and train fares, which represent the maximum fares that the public transport operators can charge, are set out in Annex A.
More..... (Factsheet/Annex A)

Source: Press Release 12 Sep 2006

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