Lower bus and train fares from December, with opening of Downtown Line 2

Mr Lui (right) with LTA's senior group director for rail Sim Wee Meng (left) at the one-north MRT station on Monday, after a ride on one of the new trains on the Circle Line from Labrador Park.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

Transport fares will be reduced by up to 1.9 per cent this December, said Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew on Monday.

The new fares will take effect with the opening of Downtown Line 2 so that the fare system will have to be tweaked only once, he told reporters after a test ride on a new Circle Line train.

He also disclosed that the Public Transport Council (PTC) will work out the allocation specifics, and that he expected that all commuter groups will be paying less thereafter.

"We can start (the fare adjustment) only when we have the confirmed numbers, and we want to make sure that we are quite accurate, because these are important numbers," he said.

He cited falling fuel prices as the primary factor for the fare reduction.

The formula for computing fares takes into account changes in inflation, average wages, productivity and energy costs over the past year.

Mr Lui added that commuters can also look forward to shorter waits and less crowded rides in the months ahead.

Seven of 24 new trains have progressively been put into service on the Circle Line since June, said the Land Transport Authority (LTA); another three to five trains will be added by the end of this year.

When all 24 trains are put into service by mid-2016, the Circle Line will have a 60 per cent increase in capacity, up from 40 trains in the fleet before June.

Average wait times during peak hours will be cut to 2.7 minutes from 3.5 minutes currently; during off-peak periods, the wait will be cut from seven minutes to five.

The new trains come with more "commuter-centric" features, said the LTA. These are additional straphangers and gap fillers, which reduce the distance between trains and the platform.

There will also be a newly-designed Dynamic Route Map Display located above each door, displaying information on the current location of the train and the side the doors will open.

These improvements are part of ongoing efforts to give commuters a better travel experience, said the LTA.

In a separate statement, president and group chief executive officer of SMRT Corporation Desmond Kuek said the company is similarly "determined to deliver" as it continues to renew rail infrastructure and enhance service touchpoints.

In this spirit, SMRT will offer free travel on board all its bus and train services on National Day, Aug 9.

Fare gates at MRT stations along the North-South and East-West lines, the Circle Line and the Bukit Panjang LRT line will be left open; connections to rail lines operated by SBS Transit will be free.

Special National Day activities - photo walls, competitions to win limited edition SG50 EZ-Link cards and freebies handed out by SMRT staff - will take place in 10 MRT stations and five bus interchanges.

The MRT stations are City Hall, Raffles Place, Bayfront, Promenade, Esplanade, Orchard, Stadium, Jurong East, Tampines and Ang Mo Kio.

The bus interchanges are those at Bukit Batok, Choa Chu Kang, Sembawang, Woodlands and Yishun.

Said Mr Kuek: "Our most meaningful contribution to the people of Singapore is a safe, reliable and customer-centric transport service that will carry Singapore forward for years to come."


This article was first published on Aug 4, 2015.
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