SBS, SMRT apply to council to raise fares

PUBLIC transport providers SBS Transit and SMRT have applied to the Public Transport Council (PTC) to raise bus and train fares.

Energy and manpower costs were cited as some of the reasons for the proposed hikes, according to press statements released separately by both companies yesterday.

SMRT said it faces cost pressures in spite of efforts to manage cost and improve productivity. It said that electricity cost has increased by 26.3 per cent from $31.5 million in FY2006 to $39.8 million in FY 2007.

It also said that the high price of diesel has been further compounded by a 3.8per cent increase in the cost of diesel for SMRT buses, from $34.2 million in FY2006 to $35.5 million in FY 2007.

The increase in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) by two percentage points as well as the 1.5 percentage point increase in employers’ CPF contribution alone will negatively impact SMRT’s annual earnings by an estimated $11 million.

It added that the PTC’s fare adjustment of 1.8 per cent still lags rising costs, and will only partially mitigate increases in the cost of fuel and electricity.

SBS Transit said that while the company is still profitable, a fare adjustment is necessary to enable it to invest in its business so as to improve its services to serve commuters better.

SBS Transit said it invested $35 million in its new batch of 100 single-deck buses which will be on the road from the third quarter of this year.

The fare changes, if accepted by the PTC, will be announced next month and could come into effect as early as October.

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