Last month, the Ministry of Transport (MOT) and People’s Association (PA) issued a joint statement saying that at least 192,000 households have benefitted from last year’s Public Transport Voucher Exercise.
The statement also stated that more than $5.8 million have been disbursed to help “needy families” since its commencement on 12 November last year. This is slightly more than half of the $9 million set aside for 300,000 households.
Application for the $30 free voucher is still open till 31 Oct this month for needy households to apply if they haven’t done so. “Applications for the 2018 Public Transport Voucher Exercise can continue to be made till 31 October 2019. Households with an income of $1,900 or below, or per capita income of not more than $650 are eligible for the vouchers,” the statement said.
“Eligible households who have yet to apply are encouraged to do so at their local community centres/clubs (CCs). Upon successful application, each household will receive one Public Transport Voucher worth $30, which may be redeemed any time before 31 March 2020.”
The statement also said that for those who wanted more free transport vouchers, they can apply through the CCs. “The Citizens’ Consultative Committees (CCCs) will assess each application,” it said.
Number of eligible households for free transport vouchers doubled
On Tue (8 Oct), MOT and PA issued a joint statement again saying that it would increase the number as well as the value of the free transport vouchers for this year’s Public Transport Voucher Exercise. It said that it will be the “largest public transport voucher exercise to date”.
“A total of 450,000 Public Transport Vouchers (PTVs) will be made available – the largest number set aside in a single Public Transport Voucher Exercise,” the statement said. This is an increase of 50 per cent from last year’s number of 300,000.
Not only that, each of the 450,000 free transport vouchers will be worth $50, up from last year’s $30. The new $50 free vouchers will take effect at the end of this year, likely to be ahead of the upcoming General Election.
MOT and PA have also relaxed the guidelines to allow more people to get the free vouchers. It is estimated that 1 in 5 resident households will be eligible for this year’s Public Transport Voucher Exercise, compared to 1 in 10 previously.
“Eligible households can apply for the vouchers at their local community centres/clubs (CCs) from Monday, 11 November 2019 to Saturday, 31 October 2020. Each voucher covers the fare increase for a typical household of two adults and two dependents for about half a year. The vouchers can be used to purchase or top up fare cards, or buy monthly concession passes,” the statement said.
And like before, families that want more free vouchers can apply through the CCs, subject to the approval of PA’s CCCs.
PTC approves biggest fare hike since 1998
The Public Transport Council (PTC) announced on Tuesday (8 Oct) that starting 28 Dec at the end of this year, commuters will be subject to a 7 per cent increase in bus and train fares.
“We have a transparent and objective fare formula that allows us to cap the fare increase and balance sustainability with fare affordability for Singaporeans,” PTC Chairman Richard Magnus said.
“We also considered that the Government continues to finance the public transport infrastructure heavily, and provide financial assistance for the lower-income households.”
PTC also noted that the Government will continue to subsidise “close to $1 billion per year” for the renewal of rail operating assets, and an additional $1 billion for bus operations annually. “This translates to more than $1 in subsidies for every journey,” it added.
The 7 per cent increase in bus and train fares was derived using a new formula introduced last year, which included a measure of Network Capacity Factor (NCF) that measures capacity provision relative to passenger demand for the entire public transport system.