August 6, 2011

SINGAPORE: All-day concessionary travel, lower fares for senior citizens

SINGAPORE / TodayOnLine / Singapore News / August 6, 2011


By Leong Wee Keat


The fare adjustments will see 4 in 10 senior citizens experience average savings of s$48.40 yearly. Photo by Ernest Chua


On top of all-day concessionary travel on buses and trains throughout the week, senior citizens who travel more than 1km on the North-East and Circle lines will also pay less as part of the initiatives that will kick in on October 8.

Currently, MRT fares for senior citizens on the North-East and Circle lines are between 4 and 19 cents more than fares on the North-South and East-West lines.

Under the new measures, senior citizen fares on the North-East and Circle Lines will be 4 cents more across the board, compared to the North-South and East-West lines. This means that despite a 1-cent increase per journey in concessionary card fares, senior citizens who travel more than 1km on the North East and Circle Lines will end up paying less.

Currently, concession hours for senior citizens start from 9am on weekdays - an anomaly cited by senior citizens for several years.

Singapore Action Group of Elders chief executive Phua Kok Tee felt that overall, the authorities were cognisant of senior citizens' needs in rolling out the new initiatives. "These would encourage senior citizens to travel and work beyond their retirement age, as well as promote active ageing," he added.

Singaporean citizens or permanent residents aged 60 years and above are eligible to apply for concession travel.

The fare adjustments will see four in 10 senior citizens experience average savings of 93 cents per week or S$48.40 yearly.

Of the 58 per cent of senior citizens who will see a 1 cent increase, the council added the increase in average weekly expenditure is 5 cents or S$2.60 yearly. Less than 1 per cent of senior citizens will see no change in their average weekly expenditure on fares.

Public Transport Council chairman Gerard Ee pointed out that with a rapidly ageing society, "senior citizens get priority for this year".

One segment of commuters which has sought concessionary travel is the disabled community. Mr Ee acknowledged that their needs have to be addressed over time.

However, he noted a there is a "whole range of disabilities" - temporary and permanent, physical and mental disabilities - and the authorities would need to decide how to define the group.

Mr Ee said: "The starting point really is to have the respective ministry who are looking after the disabled to have a view of it as well. The challenge is to define what is the population of disabled you want to help." 

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