Transport Minister hopes to 'insulate' elderly from transport fare hike

SINGAPORE - Following the Public Transport Council's (PTC's) announcement on Wednesday that it has started the annual fare review exercise, Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew said in a Facebook post that he hopes that vulnerable groups like senior citizens can be "insulated" from fare increase.

The PTC said in a statement today that public transport operators can submit their application for fare review by Dec 19, and that it would announce its decisions on applications in the first quarter of next year.

"The PTC will take guidance from the fare review mechanism and fare adjustment formula recommended by the Fare Review Mechanism Committee and accepted by the Government in November 2013," it said. "This will ensure a good balance between meeting the needs of the commuting public and keeping the public transport system financially sustainable."

It also said that it will pay more attention to "fare affordability" for more vulnerable groups.

Mr Lui said in his Facebook post that the "Ministry of Transport will also study how we can similarly enhance the concession schemes the Government introduced for lower-wage workers and persons with disabilities earlier this year".

He said that he had received positive feedback about the new travel concession schemes, including from low-wage workers and disabled people, and students who are benefiting from monthly travel passes.

He also said that he hopes the PTC can consider not raising the prices of adult monthly travel passes for frequent commuters.

Encouraging more people to travel outside of peak hours remains one of the Government's key initiatives to reduce traffic congestion, as Mr Lui said that he has asked the Land Transport Authority to look into the matter, and perhaps "introduce off-peak monthly passes".

Public reactions

Netizens are naturally not-too-happy to hear of another fare review. Comments on Mr Lui's Facebook post point to the frequent transport breakdowns and generally perceived fall in service standards.

One person asked in his comment if the fare review will see fares fall, eliciting great mirth from other netizens.