By Yeo Ghim Lay
BUS and train fares will be reduced by two cents from April 1, announced the Public Transport Council on Thursday.
Commuters who make transfers on their journeys will save more - starting from 14 cents for one transfer, and more for two transfers.
The fare changes are due to two reasons: The public transport operators' decision to pass on their savings from this year's Budget to commuters, and the second phase of the move towards distance-based fares.
Overall, fares will be reduced by 4.6 per cent. They will not be changed until the next fare revision next July.
The PTC, which usually revises fares every October, said it is bringing forward the annual exercise to July in view of rapidly changing economic conditions.
However, the move to distance-based fares, due to be completed this year, will only be done next year.
Currently, commuters who make transfers during their journey pay more than those who take a direct trip to their destination.
The PTC made the move last year to narrow the difference between fares paid by the two groups of commuters, by increasing the transfer rebate from 25 cents to 40 cents.
From April 1, this will be increased to 50 cents. To even out the fares paid by direct and transfer commuters, the transfer rebate needs to go up to about 60 cents.
In view of the poor economic conditions, the PTC said it will do this only next year, to reduce the burden on commuters and operators.
The fare changes will cost the operators about $80 million over a 15 month period from April 1 to June 30, 2010.
Out of this, $37 million are savings from the Budget that the operators are passing on to commuters.
Besides lower fares, prices of student and full-time national servicemen concession passes will come down by $1 to $4.
Cash fares remain unchanged.
[Incredible. Who would have expected that bus/train fares would ever come down. They only go up don't they? History. Unprecedented. Not likely to be repeated.]