More than 280,000 households receive $30 public transport vouchers in first stage

The vouchers are to help lower-income commuters cope with the latest public transport fare hike. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - More than 280,000 letters have been sent out to households here, notifying them to redeem a $30 public transport voucher that can be used to top up fare cards or buy monthly concession passes.

This is the first of three stages of a distribution exercise by the authorities.

The number is slightly less than half of the 600,000 public transport vouchers that have been set aside to help lower-income commuters cope with the latest public transport fare hike, which kicked in on Dec 26 last year.

From Jan 10 to Oct 31, households with a monthly household income of $1,600 or less per person and did not receive a voucher can apply for it online.

Those who prefer to apply for it in person or those who need additional assistance can go to their local community centres or community clubs. They can do so from Feb 14 to Oct 31.

The respective citizens' consultative committees (CCCs) will assess these applications accordingly, the Ministry of Transport (MOT) and People's Association (PA) said on Monday (Jan 3).

Households that have successfully applied for the public transport voucher will receive a notification letter in the mail. They can follow the instructions on the letter to redeem the voucher.

All vouchers must be redeemed by March 31, 2023. Residents may approach their local community centres or community clubs if they have any queries.

This is the largest number of public transport vouchers that has been set aside to date, with the broadest household coverage, MOT and PA said.

The exercise comes after the Public Transport Council decided to raise fares by 2.2 per cent after its annual fare revision exercise last year, citing cost pressures on public transport operators and a sharp plunge in ridership due to Covid-19.

This translated to a three cents to four cents increase for adults paying their bus and MRT fares by card, depending on the distance travelled.

Concessionary fares for seniors, students, people with disabilities and low-wage workers went up by one cent, while prices for cash fares, single-trip tickets, monthly concessions and travel passes are unchanged.

The hike was largely the result of a fare increase that was carried over from 2020.

Public transport fares were frozen that year.

To help more commuters cope with the latest fare hike, the monthly household income ceiling to qualify for the vouchers was raised from $1,200 per person to $1,600 per person so more households would qualify for a voucher.

The higher income ceiling means about 250,000 more households will be eligible for the vouchers this time, MOT had said previously.

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