From Dec. 23, 2023, adult fares for bus and train rides will go up by 10 to 11 cents, depending on the journey's distance.
For journeys 4.2km or shorter, expect to pay S$0.10 more.
For journeys longer than 4.2km, expect to pay S$0.11 more.
The fare increments were announced by the Public Transport Council (PTC) on Sep. 18 after the conclusion of its annual Fare Review Exercise (FRE).
Concession fare hikes capped at 4 to 5 cents
For concession fares enjoyed by students and seniors, the fare increase is capped at S$0.04 to S$0.05 and varies depending on the journey's distance.
For journeys 4.2km or shorter, the increase will be S$0.04.
For journeys longer than 4.2km, the increase will be S$0.05.
These adjustments apply to concession fares for lower-wage workers and persons with disabilities as well.
There will be no changes to the price of adult monthly travel pass and the bus or train monthly concession passes.
Adult cash fares, which are still accepted for bus rides, will increase by S$0.20.
Concessionary cash fares for bus rides will increase by S$0.10.
The new fare structure will take effect on Dec. 23, 2023.
Support provided for concessionary groups
Alongside the fare increase announcement, PTC shared that it will provide "greater support" for heavy users of public transport who belong to concessionary groups.
These groups are namely students, seniors, and full-time national servicemen
It will do so by reducing the prices of hybrid bus and train monthly concession passes by up to 10 per cent.
Additionally, PTC shared that the government will reduce the price of monthly concession pass for persons with disabilities from S$64 to S$58.
The government will also introduce a new hybrid concession pass, priced at S$96, for Workfare Transport Concession Scheme card holders to help lower-wage workers.
This is cheaper than the normal adult monthly travel pass, and the government will bear the cost of the discount, PTC said.
New fare adjustment formula
This year's fare adjustment quantum was calculated in part using the new fare formula, which will be applicable from 2023 to 2027.
The output derived from this formula was 12 per cent, which PTC said is driven by the continued increase in energy prices, core inflation and strong wage growth in 2022.
After adding the deferred 10.6 per cent from the fare review exercise in 2022, this year's maximum allowable fare adjustment quantum is 22.6 per cent.
Both SBS Transit and SMRT Trains applied for a fare adjustment of 22.6 per cent.
PTC has decided to allow an overall fare increase of 7 per cent.
The remaining 15.6 per cent from this year's fare review exercise will be deferred to future FREs.
This is to "keep public transport fares affordable in this higher cost environment", PTC said.
The government will provide a subsidy of S$300 million to enable this deferment.
The maximum allowable fare adjustment quantum for 2022 was 13.5 per cent, out of which PTC allowed a fare increase of 2.9 per cent.
Tan Kim Hong, chief executive of PTC, said in 2022 that the 2022 quantum was the highest quantum derived in a FRE since 2005.
The government provided a subsidy of S$200 million in 2023 to cover the deferred fare increase.
Operators to make larger contributions to Public Transport Fund
Along with the higher fare increase, the PTC will require SBS Transit and SMRT Trains to make larger contributions toward the Public Transport Fund.
For 2023, SBS Transit and SMRT Trains should respectively contribute 15 per cent and 30 per cent of their expected increase in revenue to the fund, PTC revealed.
This means SBS Transit will contribute S$3.14 million while SMRT Trains will contribute S$12.71 million.
This amounts to S$15.85 million in total.
Vouchers available for lower-income households
To help lower-income households cope with the fare adjustments, Public Transport Vouchers (PTVs) worth S$50 each will be made available, PTC announced.
Lower-income households with monthly household income per person of not more than S$1,600 will be eligible for the PTVs.
The vouchers can be used to top up fare cards or buy monthly passes.
The PTVs will be disbursed in two stages.
Households who received a voucher during the 2022 PTV exercise and continue to meet the criteria will automatically receive a PTV notification letter by end-December 2023.
From early 2024, households that meet the criteria but did not receive the voucher in the first stage can apply for PTVs online or in-person at their local community centres.
Fares must keep pace with expansion: PTC chairperson
Announcing the fair increase, PTC chairperson Janet Ang commented that sustaining the public transport system is a "shared responsibility" among the government, public transport operators and commuters.
Ang pointed out that as our public transport network expands and more people use public transport, the government has continued to subsidise the cost of public transport provision.
Operators also strive for greater efficiency in operations to reap cost savings.
However, Ang said "fares must keep pace with the cost of providing public transport services across a larger network, and in a higher cost environment."
"We will ensure that public transport remains affordable for commuters, but we seek commuters’ understanding that the fare increase is necessary to meet rising costs and ensure that we can continue to provide better salaries and training for about 22,000 public transport workers."
Top image via Ministry of Transport/Facebook