Over 280,000 families in Singapore have received letters, informing them that they can claim a 430 public transport voucher that can be utilized as a fare card or can be used to purchase monthly concession passes.
Transportation aid program
It is the first of three phases of the transportation aide program by the government officials following the recent fare hike.
The figure was almost half of the 600,000 public transport vouchers that were planned to be distributed to aid the commuters with low wages recover from the recent public transport fare increase, which were launched on December 26th of the previous year.
Households with a combined monthly income of $1,600 or lower and haven’t received yet the voucher that were distributed can apply online from January 10 to October 31.
For those who wish to apply in person or those who are in need of extra help regarding their application for the fare hike aid, they must personally visit their community clubs or local community centers. Applicants can register anytime from February 14 to October 31.
According to the Ministry of Transport (MOT) and People’s Association (PA) on January 3, the applications will be reviewed accordingly by the respective citizen’s consultative committees (CCCs).
The families that have successfully completed their application whether it is online or in person will receive a notification letter in mail, informing them if they can redeem the voucher. Within the letter, they must adhere to the instructions on how to redeem their vouchers.
Applicants can redeem their vouchers until March 31, 2023. For inquiries, residents can visit their community clubs or local community centers.
Established as a response to the hike
According to MOT and PA, this is by far the greatest figure of public transport voucher that has been distributed by the authorities, with also the span of household coverage can be taken into account.
The program was established following the announcement of the Public Transport Council to increase the fare by 2.2 percent in accordance with the yearly fare revision effort last year, referring to the fuel cost pressures on public transport operators and a severe decline of commuters due to the effects of the pandemic.
This announcement has led to the increase of fare by three to four cents on adults paying using their MRT or bus fare card, which also depends on the distance traveled.
As for the privilege fare for students, senior citizens, individuals with disabilities, and low-income employees, a price increase of one cent was announced. However, the price for single-trip tickets, travel passes, and cash fares are unaffected.
The effects of the pandemic
The fare increase was generally the result of the fare increase proposal from 2020. The fares for public transportation that year were suspended due to the effects of the global pandemic.
To aid more commuters recover from the fare increase, MOT raised the monthly household income requirement to be qualified for the voucher from $1,200 per individual to $1,600 to accommodate more families to claim their voucher.
MOT has previously announced that the higher income requirement means that more than 250,000 families will benefit from the distribution program this time when they claim their vouchers.
The increase in fare is one of the few domino effects of the economic crash due to the global coronavirus pandemic that started in 2020. The closure of many businesses and the restriction of human mobility and activity has caused the sudden change in economies from all over the world.
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