Public Transport Review 2013: Is It Going To Get Better?


Ryan Ong



Well, the vague answer is: for some. We don’t have exact numbers yet, but the review of public transport fares looks about wrapped up. Overall, it’s what you’d expect: a bunch of reasons why fares will go up, and assurance that everyone will be able to afford it. Cue flattering comparisons, to soften the blow. Here are some of the points worth noting:


What Can We Expect?

The Fare Review Mechanism Committee (FRMC) is taking a new approach that benefits “up to one million commuters” (out of like, three million for all we know, so hold the applause).

For the most part, the fare review covers the same issues: rising costs (in particular energy costs) justify a need to raise fares. There’s the usual assurance that it will be affordable; Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew mentioned that the increase will be gradual and over two years, to prevent “excessive fare hikes in any one year“.

Besides the usual, you’ll want to note that:

  • More People Can Get Concessions
  • Monthly Travel Passes (Finally!)
  • The New Formula for Fare Adjustment


1. More People Can Get Concessions


MRT Train
Singaporeans: Complain about lack of concessions. Won’t even concede a seat.


A bigger range of commuters will now get fare concessions (no idea how much exactly at this point). The list now includes:

  • Low income workers
  • Disabled
  • Children (Children under the age of seven will travel free. This replaces the old height requirement, due to a sudden flash of logic)
  • Polytechnic Students (Cheaper concession passes, and higher concessions than University students)
  • Full Time Students
  • Senior Citizens (They have concessions already, but now they can buy a monthly concession pass)


All of these concessions will be funded by the government and not cost you a cent, at some distant millenia or in a parallel universe. As for here and now, the fare increase will probably be 10 cents more per journey.

In the FRMC survey:

“The majority of respondents (60.7%) felt that the cost of concessions in general should be shared by full-fare-paying commuters and the Government.

Among those who felt that commuters should bear some or all of the concessions schemes, almost two-thirds supported fare increases of up to 10 cents more per journey in order to provide more concessions for others.” – Today, Wednesday 6th November 2013

(Actually, I suspect it’s more like two-thirds didn’t want to look like ass hats by saying “no”).


2. Monthly Travel Passes (Finally)


Sleeping on the bus
“Okay, travel passes or no,using the bus as a makeshift apartment is going a bit far.”


For regular commuters, we will soon have the option to buy A MONTHLY TRAVEL PASS. YES.

Those of you who work in sales, or in jobs where you chase clients like a coked-up Elmer Fudd in a rabbit field, will know how important this is. From what I gather, (I may be wrong) the monthly travel pass is a one-time purchase, that gives you any number of trips within the given month.

There’s no mention of price yet; but if it’s something like $50, I will weep manly tears of joy. There’s also a mention that the pricing will be determined during each fare-review exercise.


3. The New Formula for a Fare Adjustment

The new fare adjustment formula looks like this:

Core Consumer Price Index + Wage Index + Energy Index – 0.5% = Maximum Fare Adjustment


“Well in hindsight, we should have used a calculator. But let’s just assume those fare prices are right.”


Consumer Price Index:

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) measures the general inflation rate. So a CPI of 4% means the prices of most goods went up by around 4% that year.

In the new formula, core CPI is used instead of the actual CPI. Core CPI excludes certain factors from the rising cost of living (e.g. private transport and housing).

Wage Index: Measures general wage increases or decreases in the working population, on an annual basis

Energy Index: Measures increases or decreases in power bills, diesel, etc. on an annual basis

Hang on a bit, and we’ll see the real dollars and cents figures soon. We’ll do a follow-up then, so be sure to follow us on Facebook.


Image Credits:
Simon_sees, oldandsolo, kodomut, Images_of_Money, Simon_sees

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Ryan Ong

I was a freelance writer for over a decade, and covered topics from music to super-contagious foot diseases. I took this job because I believe financial news should be accessible and fun to read. Also, because the assignments don't involve shouting teenagers and debilitating plagues.