Public transport fares could increase next year but the rise won’t be more than 10 cents per trip – here’s why

Public transport operators could increase fares by up to 4.3%.
The Straits Times

The Public Transport Council (PTC) announced on Monday (Sep 3) that bus and train operators could increase fares by up to 4.3 per cent, or 10 cents per journey, to cope with the fleet growth and ridership decline.

The PTC, which commenced its annual 2018 Fare Review Exercise (FRE) on the same day, has managed to reduce fares by a total of 8.3 per cent for the previous three consecutive years but this year will not be the same.

The maximum allowable fare adjustment quantum for 2018 set by the PTC is the aforementioned 4.3 per cent. It is derived from a new component in the public transport fare review formula called network capacity factor, which compares network usage against the capacity added.

If the capacity increases faster than ridership, a higher fare hike could be allowed. Last year, the bus fleet growth resulted in a 2.1 per cent rise in distance covered to 33.6 billion place-km. At the same time, ridership fell by 1.8 per cent to 5.5 billion passenger-km.

According to the PTC, more than 1000 new buses and more than 200 new trains were also introduced over the past five years to “augment the public transport capacity”, with all costs borne by the government.

PTC added the government has also committed to spending S$5 billion ($3.64 billion) to subsidise public bus services, S$4 billion to renew rail operating assets and an additional S$20 billion on new public transport civil infrastructure over the next five years.

Public transport operators who wish to increase their fare may submit their applications to the PTC by 1 October 2018 for it to consider.

After the submission, the PTC will announce its final decision on the fare adjustment quantum in the last quarter of 2018.

It said: “Ultimately, the PTC will continue to keep public transport fares affordable to commuters, while ensuring that the public transport system remains financially sustainable.”