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Government agrees to new fare subsidies

Published on Nov 11, 2013 2:05 PM
 
Commuters at Raffles Place MRT Station during peak hour on Oct 7, 2013. The  Government has accepted all the recommendations made by the Fare Review Mechanism Committee last week, Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew told Parliament on Monday. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

The Government has accepted all the recommendations made by the Fare Review Mechanism Committee last week, Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew told Parliament on Monday.

Mr Lui said the recommendations include the smoothening of fare increases by rolling over part of increases to the following year; and new concessions aimed at the low-income earners and people with disabilities.

Mr Lui described the new fare formula as "an improvement over the old".

"Overall, the report is fair and reasonable and contains a timely reminder that we need to make regular fare adjustments from time to time to ensure that the (public transport) system is sustainable and workable," he said.

He noted that public transport fares for the average commuter have become more affordable over the years.

But "we do recognise that there are certain commuter groups who would still be in need of help", he added.

The Minister said details of the two new concessions will be worked out, and should be out by the time of the next fare adjustment.

Details include who can apply, how to apply, and the precise concessionary amounts.

But Mr Lui said "it is my intention to ensure that the discounts given will more than offset any fare increase in the next fare exercise" - which should be in the first half of next year.

Finally, he assured that while fares are likely to have to go up in the coming years, they will not become less affordable for the average commuter, and will be considerably more affordable for the low-income and disadvantaged groups.

"This is my intention and I have every confidence we can achieve it," he added.