SINGAPORE - More than 150,000 households have applied for vouchers to cushion the impact of an increase in public transport fares, since this year's application exercise began on Nov 12.
The Ministry of Transport (MOT) and People's Association (PA) said in a joint statement on Monday (Dec 24) that the applications were received at 108 community centres and clubs (CCs) islandwide, as of Dec 12.
The Public Transport Council previously announced in October that adjustments to public transport fares will kick in from Dec 29.
Bus and train fares will rise by six cents per trip, while single-trip train fares and adult cash bus fares will rise by 10 cents, among other changes.
To help needy families cope with the fare adjustment, the Government will be disbursing $9 million from the Public Transport Fund, or 300,000 vouchers of $30 each. This will be the largest number of Public Transport Vouchers available in a single exercise.
The vouchers can be used to purchase or top up fare cards, or buy monthly concession passes.
The MOT and PA said in the statement that grassroots leaders have reached out to needy residents during regular house visits and community events to inform them about the exercise and help them with their applications.
A resident, Madam Selina Goh, 58, said: "I do not enjoy the benefits of the senior citizen concession card, as I am not 60 years old yet. These vouchers from the Government will be useful and help lower the transport cost for me."
The part-time childcare relief teacher lives with her husband, who is an odd-job worker. She takes the train or bus to her workplace or wet market about five times a week.
Eligible households who meet the same income criteria as that for the ComCare Fund may apply for the Public Transport Voucher during this exercise, which will end on Oct 31 next year.
These are households with an income of $1,900 or below, or a per capita income of not more than $650.
Each household will receive one voucher if their application is successful. Those who require more vouchers can apply through the CCs.
The citizens' consultative committees will assess each application and have the discretion to help deserving cases who marginally miss these criteria, the statement said.
Residents may approach their local CCs if they have any queries, the statement added.