Disabled commuters can apply now for concessions

SINGAPORE - Adults with permanent disabilities who are not on any existing public welfare schemes can now apply for new public transport concessions.

Announced in January, they offer a 25 per cent discount on adult fares, with ez-link fares capped at 94 cents and express bus fares at $1.35.

Those who qualify will also be eligible to buy a $60 monthly concession pass offering unlimited train and bus travel, apart from express buses.

Disabled commuters who are already on aid schemes need not apply as they will be eligible for both benefits automatically. The SG Enable agency has published conditions for eligibility on its website at www.sgenable.sg.

Applicants must provide one of the following: a current doctor's memo, endorsement by an affiliated disability welfare body or an assessment report endorsed by a general practitioner. Registration opened yesterday and closes on April 30.

If approved, they will receive a personalised concession card before July 5 when the discount takes effect.

Wheelchair user and hotel reservations assistant Thomas Teo, 25, spends between $50 and $60 a month on bus and train fares, and is planning to apply. "You actually save quite a lot over a year," he said. "I'm quite happy about it. But, of course, if transport fares keep going up, it may still affect us in the long term."

Those who are eligible will receive a notification letter from SG Enable, followed by an application package from the Land Transport Authority.

They will also receive interim financial assistance of $80 from the Government to help cover travel expenses for the three months between April 6 - when the public transport fare increase takes effect - and July 6 when the concession scheme will have started.

The interim aid can be credited to the travel cards at any TransitLink ticket office, concession card replacement office or add-value machine. Qualifying commuters can top up any time before Dec 31 this year.

The Government expects about 50,000 people to qualify for the concession, which covers physical and intellectual disabilities. About $50 million has been set aside by the Government this year to subsidise travel fares for disabled passengers as well as 400,000 low-income commuters.

Applications for the concessions must be sent to: SG Enable, 141 Redhill Road, Singapore 158828.

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