It's a welcome news , but when and how much??? Oil price seem to drop a lot also since then.
Is it really election time soon? It really make me wonder. It would be good if it's really not election time soon.
Originally Posted by http://www.straitstimes.comJan 23, 2009
Lower bus & train fares
By Christopher Tan
BUS and train fares will be lowered soon, the Public Transport Council (PTC) announced on Friday.
The council said the two public transport operators - SBS Transit and SMRT Corp - will not be applying for their annual fare adjustment.
The unusual move came a day after the Government unveiled a $20.5 billion Budget to help Singaporeans weather the financial storm sweeping the world.
In the package were several tax reliefs handed out to businesses, including lower corporate and property taxes, CPF contribution relief in the form of the so-called Jobs Credit and assistance plans targetted at the transport sector.
PTC chairman Gerard Ee said he was glad to learn that the operators were holding back on their customary application.
'I am heartened to hear that the public transport operators will not apply for any fare adjustment this year and that they are ready to work with us to reduce bus and train fares for 2009,' Mr Ee said.
Singapore's public transport fares are adjusted annually, based on a fixed formula that takes into account the previous year's inflation rate and wage increase rate. The formula also has a component to share productivity gains of the operators with commuters.
If the formula had been followed, this year's bus and train fares could go up by over 5 per cent - the biggest jump in decades.
The formula however has clauses that could negate the hard mathematical formula. For instance, before approving a fare change, the council must consider the prevailing economic situation, the profitability of the operators and the job situation in Singapore.
The PTC said it will work speedily with the transport operators on how much fares can be cut by. A decision will be out before the end of next month (feb).
Cedric Foo, head of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Transport, welcomed the news.
'Hopefully, the removal of the remaining transfer penalty will also be addressed without increasing fares,' Mr Foo said. 'I am very pleased that the fare adjustment formula has not been blindly applied.
'These are exceptional times which call for exceptional measures and if a fare reduction can be achieved, the goodwill shown by the transport operators will not be easily forgotten.''
Commuters cheered the news. Merchandiser Ivy Ong, 42, said: 'I think it will help. But it also depends on how big a cut, because the economic situation is getting worse, and inflation is still rather high.'
University student Yeo Jun Han, 24, said: 'I am happy of course. But I think they shouldn't have increased fares in the first place.'
Fares were last raised - by an average four cents per ride - in October, two weeks after Lehman Brothers collapsed. SBS Transit said the firm did not apply for fare rises in 2003 and 2004, too. 2003 was the SARS period and Iraq War; and in 2004, Singapore had not recovered yet.