Public Transport Council (PTC) announced the result of a study by a private university UniSIM on fare comparison between Singapore and 35 major cities, which concluded that the rail fares in the country are among the lowest.
Richard Magnus, the Chairman of PTC, wrote the findings in the PTC blog on Tuesday (5 December).
He said that PTC had earlier shared an infographic comparing rail fares across eight major cities. The graphs present a comprehensive comparison of major cities across Asia, Australia, Europe and North America.
PTC looked at two key data points in our comparison: the lowest rail fare and fares at 10km of travel for each city. The 10km data point is meant to reflect the average journey distance for commuters in Singapore, according to LTA’s Statistics in Brief 2015 figures.
It said that fare levels for the cities were converted to Singapore dollars based on each city’s purchasing power parity, where available. While, in the absence of an official PPP conversion factor, fares for Taipei are converted to SGD using prevailing exchange rates. These fares could differ after adjustment for the cost of living.
PTC also said that these adjustments account for any differences in strength of currency and cost of living across the regions. Within Asia, the rail fares in Singapore are amongst the lowest, while rail fares in cities like Tokyo and Seoul lie on the higher end of the spectrum in Asia.
“When compared to cities in Australia, Europe and North America, rail fares in Singapore are considerably lower,” it wrote.
Apart from benchmarking fares with major international cities, PTC said that it also monitors closely the public transport expenditure of commuters as a percentage of their household income. The figure, currently at 2.2% for the second quintile income group of households, has improved over the years. This means the average public transport user is spending a smaller proportion of their monthly income on public transport expenditure.
However, this comparison may be quite irrelevant. Take for example, Japan has a much higher lower minimum wage than Singapore. So makes sense that it has to pay more for its workers to run the train system.
While, as for Singapore, there is no minimum wage, this means there is not as much financial burden by the operator but yet on the contrary, pressure is placed upon normal commuters to take the train with the constant breakdowns and service disruptions.