Why It Matters

Making travel more affordable

Monday's announcement that public transport concessions will be extended to private school and home-schooled secondary-level students is the latest in a line of measures aimed at making transport more affordable.

This latest extension also applies to those taking private diploma or degree courses that are at least two years long.

The move is based on recommendations made by the Fare Review Mechanism Committee in a report released in 2013.

The recommendations previously resulted in concessions being extended to the disabled, low-wage workers and polytechnic students, and not just to secondary school students and primary school pupils.

The issue of public transport fares for polytechnic students, who until recently paid twice as much in fares as their peers in junior colleges and the Institute of Technical

Education, had been a particularly sore point for many years.

It prompted many calls for increased concessions.

Petitions started by students in 2008 and 2009 garnered thousands of signatures and a public advocacy event was organised by the Young PAP on the issue in 2011.

The issue of greater concessions for university students was also raised in 2012 by the student unions of the National University of Singapore, the Nanyang Technological University and the Singapore Management University.

This latest concession represents a significant move by the Government towards addressing commuter concerns.

However, winning commuters over will also require addressing the issue of rail breakdowns - a common grouse since the massive breakdowns in 2011.

Commuters will have to be convinced not only of the affordability of public transport but also of its reliability.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 12, 2015, with the headline 'Making travel more affordable'. Print Edition | Subscribe