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Bus and train fares to increase by 6 cents per journey starting end of December this year: Public Transport Council

Starting 29 Dec this year, commuters holding travel cards may expect an increase of six cents in bus and train fares per journey as a part of the Public Transport Council (PTC)'s annual fare revision.

Additional fare hikes include single-trip train fares and adult cash bus fares, which will see a 10-cent rise in fares per journey, PTC announced on Tuesday (30 Oct).

Student and senior citizen card fare increases, however, will be capped at 1 cent, according to the Ministry of Transport. It added that the same applies to commuters under the Lower-Wage Workers and Persons with Disabilities concession schemes.

PTC also highlighted that "frequent travellers using Monthly Concession Passes – students, senior citizens, full-time national servicemen, and adults – will see no increase, as the prices of these passes will remain unchanged."

"The Government has similarly decided to keep the price of the Monthly Concession Pass for persons with disabilities unchanged," added the Council.

Table showing a summary of the finalised bus and train fare revision approved by PTC. Source: PTC

The finalised fare revisions will result in an increase of S$78.2 million in fare revenues for public transport operators starting next year, with S$35 million of it coming from train revenue.

A new component was made one of the criteria in evaluating the price hikes - the Network Capacity Factor (NCF).

The NCF calculates the difference between transport supply and commuter demand. Other components include changes in core inflation, wages and energy cost.

The NCF factored in 3 per cent in the fare formula, which is the biggest value among the components.

It is predicted that SBS Transit will observe a S$10.9 million increase, while SMRT will observe a S$24.1 million increase.

The Land Transport Authority, which oversees bus contracts, will observe a remaining S$43.2 million increase in revenue.

In justifying the price hikes, PTC said that the decision was driven by necessity "in a rising cost environment," citing the following figures:

• Energy prices rebounded by 26.2%, the highest since the Energy Index was introduced in 2013;
• Wage Index went up by 3%;
• Core Consumer Price Index rose by 1.5%; and
• Additional costs to improve connectivity and network capacity by running more public transport services.

The PTC added: "Both rail operators have also reported significant losses.

"These cost pressures have also been faced by other cities which have had to raise fares to keep pace with the operating cost increases."

Chairman of PTC Richard Magnus, however, predicted that the latest fare revision would not be able to offset the $1 billion annual bus subsidy provided by the Government, which will be observed throughout the next five years.

Nonetheless, the Council, he added, aims to "narrow the gap between cost and revenue as much as possible" without doing so at the grave expense of commuters.

“We had to balance between the rising costs in public transport, as well as fare affordability on the part of our commuters," said Mr Magnus.

When asked if the expansion of Singapore's rail network by 2030 would mean that commuters will have to anticipate further and higher fare hikes in the future, Mr Magnus replied that it depends on demand and supply, adding: "I don't think there'll be a fare reduction next year."

The announcement regarding the upcoming fare hikes came on the heels of the release of findings from a study on transport fare affordability in 12 major cities, in which Singapore came in second. The study, commissioned by the PTC, was conducted by Nanyang Technological University.