Response to a Fellow Singaporean on Fare Changes
I’m glad you asked a very important question about cumulative effect of fare changes. I asked many friends and colleagues how much different fares are compared to five years ago. In other words, do they think fares today are higher, the same, or lower? No one thinks it is lower. Most people don’t know and many think it must be a lot higher.
Please see the following chart, which shows the net effect of ALL the fare adjustments between 2006 to 2010. Here’s what it means:
i) Fares did go up in 2006, 2007 and 2008; by end 2008, they were cumulatively 3.5% higher than in 2006.
ii) But in 2009 and 2010, fares went down; most people forgot this.
iii) After 5 rounds of fare revisions, in fact fares were on average 0.7% lower.
Do bear in mind that distance fares were also introduced in 2010 which changed the basis of fare computation, and makes it harder to compare any pair of fares. In any case, after the most recent fare revision of 1% announced by PTC today, some fares went up, some came down but the overall effect is that fares are just about the same as in 2006. Compare that to the 14% increase in the Consumer Price Index over the same 5 years.
In my mind, there’s something to be very cheerful about this time round:
a) Senior citizens will get full-day concession travel – more than 40% will actually pay lower fares
(I’m personally very happy because it ties in nicely with the Re-employment Act coming into effect on 1 Jan 2012, which will boost employment of seniors)
b) Unlike in previous rounds, students will NOT see any fare changes at all; they will pay the same as before
c) SMRT’s pre-peak discount is now 30 cents, three times the original 10 cents. Also, more commuters will benefit because the exit time to qualify for the discount is extended from 7.30 am to 7.45 am. I hope many people take advantage because it will help reduce the peak-hour squeeze. Travel earlier, feel more comfortable, pay less.
Hope this addresses some of your questions. Have a good day, George.