Disappointing move to end off-peak transport pass for seniors

The recent decision to remove the $40 off-peak monthly senior transport concession pass caught many elderly commuters by surprise.

There was no advance notice, as far as I can recall, that it was going to take effect from Dec 1.

It is also strange that the Public Transport Council did not provide reasons for terminating this pass.

In the past, seniors could choose between the $40 off-peak pass or the $60 unlimited one.

I saw the disappointment on the faces of several seniors when they tried to top up their off-peak passes, only to discover that it had been discontinued.

Most seniors travel only during off-peak hours and it is a waste of money for them to buy the unlimited pass.

In England, if you are a person in your 60s, you can use your bus pass to enjoy free off-peak travel on local buses anywhere.

In Spain, the train company, Renfre, issues a travel discount card to anyone over age 60 for a small annual charge.

Valid for a year and called the Dorada Card, it entitles anyone over age 60 to a 25 per cent to 40 per cent discount (depending on the day) on any one-way or return train ticket.

Providing our senior citizens with the off-peak concession pass will encourage them to get out of the house and engage in activities, including visiting their children and grandchildren.

Most of the elderly are retired and have no source of income. They survive on their savings.

These older people have contributed to Singapore the whole of their lives and we should appreciate and reward them for it. The off-peak concession pass is just one way of doing this.

Surely the Government can give them a discounted bus ride via the off peak-concession. I hope the Government will restore the off-peak pass.

Cheng Choon Fei

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 10, 2018, with the headline 'Disappointing move to end off-peak transport pass for seniors'. Print Edition | Subscribe