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Some thoughts on the FRMC Report

06 Nov 2013

Below is a Facebook post by Minister Lui Tuck Yew on his thoughts on the FRMC report on 5 November 2013.

I have read through the FRMC report that Mr Magnus and his team submitted yesterday. It is obvious they put in a lot of hard work. They have sought to understand and ensure that the report reflected the concerns of Singaporeans. I am grateful to them for a thoughtful and balanced report. The new fare formula they proposed, if accepted, would apply from 2013 to 2017.

I am most grateful to see their recommendations focussed on ensuring that public transport fares remain affordable for all commuters. We must do this while recognising the need to keep the public transport system in Singapore financially viable. In this regard, we should use the next fare exercise to enhance existing as well as implement new concession schemes for various groups of commuters, with special attention to the disadvantaged groups. For heavy users of public transport, the recommendation of a more affordable monthly pass would help to cap their transportation costs. I am also generally in favour of the approach suggested by FRMC that Government funds the proposed new concession schemes for the disadvantaged groups while any enhancements to existing schemes be cross-subsidised by commuters.

Our last fare exercise was in 2011. No fare exercise is ever popular, but periodic fare adjustments are necessary, especially in the face of rising wage and fuel costs. When such a fare exercise will take place and the quantum of any adjustment is for the PTC to deliberate. The FRMC’s proposal to allow for a smoothening of significant fare increases over two years using a roll-over mechanism is helpful. This will avoid excessive fare hikes in any one year. My own view is that any fare increase should be below the average national-level wage increase for that year.

This, together with the concession schemes and issuance of transport vouchers to those most impacted by any increase, will help to ensure that fares remain affordable for commuters. Indeed, with the general rise in cost of living, and as we seek to encourage more Singaporeans to take public transport, the continued affordability of public transport will be a key objective for my Ministry.