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The city bus arrives at the station in Bugis, Singapore city. Public transport in the city Singapore from Shutterstock.com

Government to provide public transport vouchers for low-income households help cope with with 4.3% hike in fare or some say, 11%

Following the latest fare increase by the Public Transport Council (PTC), the Ministry of Transport has announced that the government will be giving $9 million in vouchers to 300,000 low-income households to cope with the increase. This works out to about $30 per family which can be used to buy or top up fare cards, or buy monthly concession passes.

Back in 2014 and 2015, $7.5 million public transport vouchers were made available to 200,000 low-income households. And in 2011, it was $4 million in vouchers provided for 200,000 families. The vouchers have historically been provided only in years when there were fare hikes.

In a joint statement, the Ministry of Transport and People’s Association said that the government will source the $9 million from the Public Transport Funds. Families can apply for the vouchers at their local community centres and clubs (CCs) between 12 November 2018 and 31 October 2019. Each household is entitled to one voucher but if a family requires more help, they can apply for additional vouchers. The Citizens’ Consultative Committees (CCCs) will assess and provide additional Public Transport Vouchers to households whom they deem to need more help.

In a separate statement, the Ministry of Transport said that the fare hike was due to the rising operating cost as a result of the 26% rebound in energy prices. Following a fare review exercise, the Public Transport Council (PTC) approved a hike of 4.3% this year which will take effect starting 29 December 2018.

The fare increase works out to about 6 cents more for card fares (adults) while a single trip on cash fares for buses will see a 10 cents increase. However, the government has also decided to cap the fare increase for Lower-Wage Workers and Persons with Disabilities to 1 cent while the price for monthly concession passes for persons with disabilities will remain unchanged. There will also be no changes for case fares for students and senior citizens.

But as Leong Sze Hian has noted in his post, fare hikes for short trips are, in fact, raised 11% if one were to consider the deferred fare reduction of 3.2% in 2017.

As to how much the fare hike will impact the average Singaporean commuter remains to be seen. Though the hike is fairly minimal, it still feeds the perception of the rising cost of living.