$13.5 million boost for fund that helps needy commuters: PTC

Another $13.5 million will be added to the Public Transport Fund this year to help needy commuters.

Yesterday, the Public Transport Council (PTC) said $7.5 million will be drawn from the fund to finance 250,000 public transport vouchers worth $30 each.

The money comes from public transport operators SBS Transit and SMRT, which will give $5.5 million and $8 million respectively - or 25 per cent and 30 per cent of their additional fare revenue.

First given out in 2004, public transport vouchers are distributed to needy Singaporeans to help them cope with fare hikes.

Last year, 207,000 of these vouchers were given out, of which 180,000 were redeemed.

Year-round applications for public transport vouchers start from March 16 this year. Residents can visit community centres to apply for the vouchers, which will be sent out from mid-April.

Application letters will be sent directly to beneficiaries of ComCare programmes as well.

In addition, concession fares for low-wage workers and the disabled remain unchanged, the PTC said.

Low-wage workers now get a fare discount of 15 per cent under the Workfare Transport Concession scheme introduced in July last year.

People with disabilities get a 25 per cent fare discount, and do not have to pay additional fares for distances beyond 7.2km.

They can also apply for a $60 monthly concession pass.

Since last July, nearly 200,000 low-wage workers and 10,000 people with disabilities have benefited from the two concession schemes.

Mr Ng Wei Liang, who is visually and hearing impaired, used to spend $100 on transport every month. The 27-year-old now spends about half that amount after he started using a concession pass for the disabled last July, and said he does not have to top up his card as often as before.

andreang@sph.com.sg