Cheaper monthly pass to encourage off-peak travel

Cheaper monthly pass to encourage off-peak travel

SINGAPORE - In another push to get more people to commute outside of the rush hour and reduce crowding on public transport, the Government will launch a new off-peak monthly travel pass later this year.

For $80 a month, adult commuters can enjoy unlimited rides on buses and trains during off-peak hours on weekdays, and all day on weekends and public holidays.

Senior citizens and those with disabilities can buy it for $40.

Off-peak hours on weekdays refer to any period outside the morning peak period from 6.30am to 9am, and the evening rush hour from 5pm to 7.30pm.

Regular fares continue for peak-period travel.

The off-peak pass is two-thirds the price of the $120 monthly travel pass for adults and the $60 pass for senior citizens and those with disabilities.

The new scheme will be piloted for two years and funded by the Government at an expected cost of $10 million annually, the Ministry of Transport said yesterday.

It is expected to benefit around 40,000 commuters and will kick off on July 5.

In a Facebook post yesterday, Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew said: "If we can shift an additional amount of travel to outside the peak period, everyone will enjoy a more comfortable journey."

The off-peak travel pass will complement other government initiatives, such as a free-travel pilot scheme on the rail network which started in June 2013.

Under the scheme, commuters who exit any of the 18 designated MRT stations in the city area before 7.45am ride for free.

About 7 per cent of commuters have since switched to travelling during non-peak hours.

Last July, the Government also announced a programme to co-fund initiatives by companies to make their workplaces more supportive of flexible travel arrangements.

National University of Singapore transport researcher Lee Der Horng said that the new pass can encourage more people to travel during the off-peak hours.

But he added: "I think travelling before 6.30am is really too early.

"If they can shift the peak hour to start at 7am, I'm sure more people can benefit."

Freelance beautician Augustine Ong, 44, travels frequently during the off-peak hours to pick up beauty products, make deliveries and meet friends.

She spends more than $90 a month on public transport, and as much as $6 on some days.

"I would consider getting this concession card since, with transport prices going up, every little bit helps," she said.

Additional reporting by Olivia Ho

This article was first published on Jan 22, 2015.
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