The annual public transport fare review by the Public Transport Council (PTC) has concluded, with the Council announcing yesterday that fares for public transport remain unchanged, with the exception of a maximum 50 cents discount for commuters who tap in at any MRT or LRT station before 7.45am.
The PTC announced that the discount scheme will replace the free morning pre-peak hour travel scheme that will cease 29 Dec. Under the free morning pre-peak hour travel scheme, commuters can travel for free if they exit one of 18 selected MRT stations in the city area before 7.45am.
The new scheme is not limited to selected stations and pre-peak commuters may receive discounts no matter where they alight. The decision is expected to benefit about 300,000 rail commuters who travel before morning peak hours.
The Ministry of Transport also announced that the Government has accepted the council’s recommendations.
In a press conference held yesterday, the PTC explained that fare discounts were only allocated to pre-peak hour commuters because feedback from commuters and focused group discussions suggested that current fares are generally affordable.
PTC chairman Richard Magnus added:
“We hope the lower morning pre-peak fares will encourage more rail commuters to make the shift to morning pre-peak travel.
“We thought that it would be more equitable to give the benefits to a wider commuter base, when you travel for free (during pre-peak), somebody is paying for your fare, and the persons that are paying for your fare are all the other commuters like you and I, so it’s more equitable now, to spread it out to other commuters.”
The 50-cent discount translates to a 2.2 per cent fare reduction allowance which, in turn, results in a combined loss of S$40.1 million a year in fare revenue, to be borne by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and SMRT.
The PTC estimated that the LTA will see a S$20.2 million drop in fare revenue, SMRT will see a decrease of S$15.1 million, and SBS Transit will likely incur a S$4.8 million revenue cut.
Although these figures are notable, the 2.2 per cent fare reduction allowance is still less than half the 5.4 per cent range that was considered by the PTC, based on the current fare formula.
The remaining 3.2 per cent possible reduction will reportedly be rolled over to next year’s fare review exercise. The 3.2 per cent possible reduction may act as a “buffer” for increasing manpower and operation costs, according to the PTC.