Skip to main content



Fares for bus, train rides to go up in April

SINGAPORE — From April 6, commuters will have to pay 4 to 20 cents more for bus or train fares, the Public Transport Council (PTC) announced yesterday. Overall, fares for buses and trains will go up by 3.2 per cent this year and a similar increase could be in store next year.

Follow us on Instagram and Tiktok, and join our Telegram channel for the latest updates.

SINGAPORE — From April 6, commuters will have to pay 4 to 20 cents more for bus or train fares, the Public Transport Council (PTC) announced yesterday. Overall, fares for buses and trains will go up by 3.2 per cent this year and a similar increase could be in store next year.

Card fares will increase by 4 to 6 cents per journey, while commuters paying by cash will pay up to 20 cents more per trip. On average, adult commuters will pay S$21 more a year on public transport fares, while senior citizens and students will fork out an extra S$10 and S$7.

While some commuters will be paying more, others will be forking out less: In tandem with the fare hike, the PTC also announced enhancements to existing concession schemes which will also kick in on April 6 to benefit children below the age of seven, students in polytechnics and private institutions, senior citizens and heavy users of public transport.

Two new concession schemes — funded by the Government at an expected cost of S$50 million a year — will also be implemented to benefit disabled people and lower-income workers.

The new schemes will be up and running from July 6, and public transport vouchers will be disbursed to the two groups in the meantime.

Speaking at a press conference, PTC Chairman Gerard Ee noted that for those who are “hardest hit”, relief will be provided via concessions or the Public Transport Fund. “It means that some other adults end up paying a little bit more but, as a society, that’s how we work,” he added.

He also said: “Sometimes people may not fully understand that if you want to achieve higher standards, you put in more buses. To hire more bus captains, you need to pay higher salaries and ... adjust the salaries of all bus captains.”

About 400,000 low-wage workers and 50,000 persons with disabilities are expected to benefit from these two schemes in the first year. More details on the concession schemes will be announced in the next few weeks, Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew said.

Writing on Facebook, Mr Lui said the Ministry of Transport is working with various agencies including the Ministry of Social and Family Development, Ministry of Manpower and the Central Provident Fund on the roll-out of the concession schemes.

“I expect we will encounter some hiccups along the way given that we are setting up the infrastructure and processes from scratch ... and half a million personalised concession cards will have to be printed and mailed out,” he said. “I hope that applicants will understand and ... we will try our best to get the concession cards to you as quickly as possible.”

Mr Lui had earlier called on the PTC not to grant any fare increases which exceed last year’s average national wage increase.

Mr Ee pointed out that the 3.2-per-cent hike is “significantly lower” than the expected 4 to 5 per cent increase in average national wage last year. Based on fare usage data and commuters’ travel patterns, the fare hike will result in an increase in public transport expenses of S$21 a year for the average commuter.

“Even in the worst case scenario, for adults ... the increase will be S$30, maximum S$40 per annum,” he said.


How fare hike quantum was derived


Public transport fares were last increased in 2011. Adjustments were suspended since 2012, as the Fare Review Mechanism Committee (FRMC) reviewed the fare adjustment formula.

In November last year, the Government fully accepted the recommendations by the FRMC, including a revised fare formula that takes into account changes to energy costs. The committee also proposed a roll-over mechanism to allow for smoothening of significant fare hikes.

In calculating this round of fare hike, the PTC considered the 2012 fare cap based on the old formula and the 2013 fare cap based on the revised formula. The fare caps were derived to be 4.5 per cent and 2.1 per cent, respectively. The PTC decided to roll over part of the combined quantum of 6.6 per cent to next year.

Stressing that affordability has always been a priority for the council, Mr Ee said: “Clearly, 6.6 per cent in one go is very high ... it was quite obvious to us that we should do part of the increase this year and roll over the rest.”

The annual fare review exercise involves using data from a particular year to calculate the fare adjustment for the subsequent year. On how the council decided on the proportion of fare increase to be rolled over, Mr Ee said the PTC used available data estimates for this year and projected that the fare adjustment for next year could be “a negative figure, most likely at around -0.3 per cent”.

Taking this into account, the fare adjustment for next year — after adding the rolled-over increase — will be “roughly the same” as the quantum for this year, he noted.


Operators to earn S$53.5 million more


The 3.2-per-cent fare hike is expected to raise the revenue of SBS Transit and SMRT by S$36 million and S$17.5 million, respectively. The two public transport operators will contribute S$11.58 million to the Public Transport Fund, which is disbursed to needy families.

On the new formula, PTC Secretary Alvin Chia said it was imperative to include energy costs for a more accurate representation of the cost structure for transport operators.

When a reporter pointed out that the welfare of commuters should be the priority, Mr Ee reiterated that the PTC worked within the formula provided by the FRMC. “Our job ... is to find a balance and to mitigate impact on commuters,” he said.

Mr Fang Chin Poh, General Secretary of National Transport Workers Union, said the union hopes the fare hike will ultimately benefit public transport workers.

“Like all other workers, workers in the public transport industry look forward to fair annual increments and bonuses, as they have families to support too,” he said.

Related topics

fare hike

Read more of the latest in



Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.