In a government press release endorsed by Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan, the new fare formula may raise prices by 7.5% at the end of the year. The millionaire PAP Minister hid behind the Public Transport Council (PTC), pushing the blame to his statutory board for the fare raise.
According to state media Straits Times, a “new component” called the “Network Capacity Factor” (NCF) is added to the new fare formula. Officially, the NCF was defined as “tracking how much bus and rail capacity has changed in relation to actual usage.” In short, Singapore commuters have to pay for the infrastructural costs of the entire network in their single-trip fare.
The government newspaper complained that there is not enough ridership in public transport, despite the daily overcrowding:
“Of the possible increase, 3 percentage points can be attributed to the NCF, indicating that ridership growth has not kept pace with the growth in network capacity. Much of this came from a move to grow the bus fleet, which resulted in a 2.1 per cent rise in distance covered to 33.6 billion place-km last year. At the same time, ridership fell by 1.8 per cent to 5.5 billion passenger-km. Together with increases in the wage index, energy index and core consumer price index, the formula would give rise to a fare increase of as high as 7.5 per cent.”
A member of the PTC, a government academic from Singapore University of Social Sciences, said that the fares will raise by 4.3%, as the 3.2% fare cut last year was retained. Professor Vincent Chua said the fares will “just” raise by 10 cents per journey:
“4.3 per cent increase provided for in the formula, if granted in full, should not result in fares increasing by more than 10 cents per journey. As a fellow beneficiary and regular user of our public transport system, I believe it is fair that commuters share the costs of running an improved system.”
Another fake transport expert from NUS, Lee Der-Hong commented that the fare raise has nothing to be worried about.
The 7.5% fare increase comes after double-digit inflation in water prices, electricity tariffs, carpark charges and a range of new taxes weighing on the cost of living. In response to the rising cost of living, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had earlier told Singaporeans to “use Wifi” and not always “pick expensive brands”.