Happy New Year? 2020 to bring higher public transport fares to Singapore

A train at Yio Chu Kang station. Image: Wikimedia Commons
A train at Yio Chu Kang station. Image: Wikimedia Commons

Singapore commuters will need to fork out more cash for their public transport expenses when fares go up by 7% starting Dec. 28.  

Everyone from students and the elderly to working adults will be affected by the upcoming fare hike, the Public Transport Council announced today.

The council said that fares for single-trip train tickets will go up by S$0.20 (US$0.15).

Adults using EZ-Link value cards will be charged another S$0.09 for bus and train rides, while those using the monthly concession and travel passes will have to spend from S$1 to S$8 more. For comparison, fares for adult card users went up by S$0.06 late last year as part of 2018’s fare hike exercise.   

Students, the elderly, lower-wage workers and persons with disabilities using their respective concession cards will pay S$0.04 more for their rides.  

Lower-income families who need financial assistance to cope with the fare adjustment can apply for vouchers worth S$50 each, the council said. There are 450,000 vouchers available, and applicants can start applying for them at community centers from Nov. 11 to Oct. 31, 2020, when the next year’s adjustment will be announced.

It’s not all bad news. The transport council also announced today that polytechnic students and others pursuing a diploma full-time can soon enjoy concessionary fares, allowing them to save up to S$1.54 per journey. It estimated that more than 80,000 students would benefit.

Polytechnic students — unlike other tertiary students such as those in Junior Colleges or the Institute of Technical Education — have had to use the adult EZ-Link card and pay adult fares when riding buses and trains. Under the new scheme, diploma students can soon pay up to only S$0.63 for each journey.

With that said, Singapore’s adult fare is still considered as one of the lowest when compared to 11 other major cities.

An infographic posted online showed that an average adult bus and train fare in Singapore – based on 10-kilometer journeys as of July — costs S$1.48.

That’s lower than Hong Kong (S$1.78), London (S$3.15), New York (S$3.18), Paris (S$1.91), San Francisco (S$3.16), Seoul (S$1.71), Sydney (S$3.16), Taipei S$1.80), Tokyo (S$2.72) and Toronto (S$2.68). So there’s that.

The council, chaired by retired district judge Richard Magnus, was established in 1987 to regulate fares and payments, according to its website.

Fare adjustments are calculated based on a formula that takes into consideration consumer costs, wages, and energy indices, as well as the system capacity. Fare revenues are used to pay for maintenance.

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