SINGAPORE: After three consecutive years of fare decreases, public transport operators could increase fares by up to 4.3 per cent, as bus and train capacity is ramped up.
The Public Transport Council (PTC) announced this on Monday (Sep 3) as it begins the 2018 fare review exercise, which is based on a new formula that takes into account commuter demand and enhancements and growth in public transport capacity.
The PTC said that is the maximum allowable fare adjustment quantum to be considered is 4.3 per cent, after taking into account a 3.2 per cent reduction rolled over from the 2017 fare review exercise. Last year, the PTC considered a 5.4 per cent fare reduction based on the old formula, but implemented only a 2.2 per cent cut.
The operators may submit their fare applications to the PTC by Oct 1.
"The PTC has reduced fares by a total of 8.3 per cent for the previous three consecutive years, largely due to the continued double-digit dip in energy prices," said PTC.
Last year's energy prices, which will be factored in this year's fare formula, rebounded by 26.2 per cent over the previous year.
Meanwhile, other macroeconomic price indices in the fare formula have also increased over the past year.
The wage index, which is a proxy for the wage growth of public transport workers including bus captains and rail staff, went up by 3 per cent. The core consumer price index also rose by 1.5 per cent - the highest increase in three years, said PTC.
The new fare formula includes a new component called the Network Capacity Factor (NCF) of 3 per cent, which the council said "balances commuter demand and public transport capacity enhancements and reflects the effort to provide commuters with more convenient and less crowded rides over the last year".
It added that more than two-thirds of the NCF was contributed by bus capacity improvements. Over the past five years, more than 1,000 new buses were introduced through the Bus Service Enhancement Programme and Bus Contracting Model.
More than 200 new trains were also added "to augment the public transport capacity", it said, adding that the costs were borne by the Government.
"The Government has also committed to spending S$5 billion to subsidise public bus services, S$4 billion to renew rail operating assets and an additional S$20 billion on new public transport civil infrastructure over the next five years," said PTC.
The council said it will continue to keep public transport fares affordable to commuters, while also ensuring that the transport system remains financially sustainable.
The decision on the fare adjustment quantum will be announced in the last quarter of 2018, it added.