- The fare adjustment quantum is based on a price-cap formula which is pegged to macroeconomic factors. This prevents public transport operators from passing on any of the direct cost increases to commuters indiscriminately.
Are our public transport fares affordable?Public transport fares continue to form a small proportion of monthly household income. In fact, the public transport fare affordability indicator has improved over the years. Nonetheless, for those who need additional help with public transport fares, the Government will assist through various community-led initiatives and work support schemes under the MSF/Community Development Councils and the CCC ComCare Fund.
How does the PTC consider fare proposals from operators?In considering any fare proposals, the PTC takes guidance from the prevailing fare review mechanism as well as its mandate to balance commuters' interest with the financial viability of the operators. Under the fare review mechanism, a formula is used to determine the fare adjustment that can be granted in a given year. The formula ensures that the public transport operators cannot simply pass on their cost increases to commuters by raising and charging fares based on what they think commuters can bear.
If operators are making profits, why is there a need for fare adjustment?
Profits are necessary for all companies, including public transport operators. Profits allow the business to be sustained into the future; for investments to be made, and for service quality to be improved. Profits are what drive companies, including the operators, to be efficient and customer-focused. The PTC wants to retain the motivation for operators to continue to improve and to be efficient, because this will best serve commuters' interests in the long run. Nonetheless, the operators are not free to charge what they think the market can bear as the fare adjustment formula protects commuters by capping fare increases. In short, the fare adjustment formula has an in-built mechanism to cap fare adjustment, to ensure that public transport operators strive to do their best, and the benefits are shared with commuters.
I travelled on the same distance and same route on two different buses and the fares were different. Why?It may be that the bus service with the higher fare is an Express Bus Service. Express bus services are designed to provide faster connections by travelling via expressways. They also do not stop along certain sectors for faster point-to-point travel. As such, the fares of express bus services are differentiated from basic bus services. They follow a different fare structure and are higher. These includes the fares for local areas along their routes as these sectors are the boarding and alighting points for commuters of express bus services. The point-to-point nature of express bus services, providing convenience and faster connections, is targeted at commuters who travel over long distances, e.g. from HDB towns to the city centre, and especially during peak hours. Commuters who wish to take express bus services for convenience and faster connections thus need to pay the higher fares as compared to basic bus services. These bus services can be identified via the Bus Service Information Posters displayed at en route bus stops.
Shouldn't fare adjustment take into account service level?
The issue of service quality is kept separate from the fare formula. This allows the fare review mechanism to truly reflect and address the cost changes of the operators without making the fare formula too complicated.
Commuters' interest in terms of service provision will continue to be safeguarded by existing regulatory framework for bus and train services.
What are Distance Fares?Distance Fares were introduced in 2010 to bring about a more integrated fare structure that allows commuters to make transfers without incurring additional cost, thus offering greater choice and flexibility in how they plan their journey. Under Distance Fares, commuters travelling the same distance will pay the same fare for the same type of service, whether they travel direct or make transfers.
Why do I need to show my Concession Card if I am paying cash fares?
Concession Cardholders are required to present their Concession Cards to prove their eligibility for travel concessions, including concessionary cash fares.
The Concession Card is to be presented and placed on the fare reader. This is to verify the validity of the Concession Card before cash is deposited into the fare box.
Why must public transport fares be reviewed every year? Wouldn't that mean commuters will see higher fares year to year?
The practice of making annual fare adjustments helps ensure that fare adjustments are aligned to economic conditions. It allows fare adjustments to be made in regular and smaller steps to moderate the impact on commuters. While public transport fares are reviewed annually, this does not mean commuters will see higher fares every year as the fare formula could yield a positive or negative quantum. In addition, any fare adjustment is subject to the PTC?s evaluation and based on the prevailing conditions at the time of the fare review exercise and guided by the fare review mechanism. If necessary, the PTC will exercise its flexibility to vary the fare adjustment when there are circumstances that justify it, such as adverse economic conditions.