Trasport Minister Khaw Boon Wan has announced the government will raise public transport fare prices again, this time, blaming the coronavirus outbreak:
“Additional costs incurred by public transport operators because of the COVID-19 outbreak are not adequately covered by current fares and will eventually have to be borne by operators and taxpayers.”
The PAP minister said SMRT and SBS Transit are not making enough profit because they are paying for accommodation in hotels for Malaysian drivers and additional manpower for social distancing:
“Public transport operators have stepped up cleaning of buses and trains, protected their workforce with masks and face shields, paid to house bus drivers affected by Malaysia’s movement control order, as well as deployed transport ambassadors and enforcement officers to ensure safe distancing among commuters. At the same time, current ridership has dropped by 75 per cent for buses and 84 per cent for trains compared with pre-COVID levels, while fare revenues have plunged 80 per cent. The situation has placed transport operators under significant financial stress.”
Fare prices were already raised by 7% last year, and SBS Transit posted a S$81.3 million profit in the year of 2019.