Transport – BT

Fare cut to cost SBST $42.7m, SMRT $37.3m

THE 4.6 per cent cut in bus and train fares will cost SBS Transit $42.7 million over 15 months, while the corresponding figure for SMRT Corp is $37.3 million, the two companies said yesterday.

On Thursday, the Public Transport Council announced that the fare reduction package would cost the two public transport operators about $80 million from April 1, 2009, to June 30, 2010. But both SBST, the dominant bus operator, and SMRT, which runs Singapore’s biggest rail network, said that they would only reveal the impact to their fare revenues the following day.

The fare rebate, starting on April 1, 2009, will allow adult commuters to save from two to 14 cents for a direct journey or a journey with one transfer.

In a statement, SBST said that the temporary relief measures will cost it ‘$42.7 million for the 15-month period’ – more than the $21.5 million it is expected to receive from last month’s Budget.

SBST chief operating officer Gan Juay Kiat said: ‘We hope that by reducing fares by an average of 5.1 per cent during these tough times, commuters will be able to get some relief from cost pressures.’

The 5.1 per cent figure is obtained after averaging the reductions in fares for SBST’s basic bus and train services, as well as its non-basic or premium bus services.

SMRT also said that it would give commuters further rebates on its premium and express bus services. It said that together with the discounts on these non-basic bus services and a $300,000 donation announced in January to help needy commuters, ‘these measures by SMRT to help commuters reduce their transport costs and cope with the economic downturn amount to $37.3 million in the next 15 months’.

‘This amount exceeds the savings SMRT will receive from the government budget,’ said SMRT in a statement.

‘We have reduced train and bus fares to help commuters of basic services cope with the downturn,’ said SMRT Corp president and CEO Saw Phaik Hwa.

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