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Singaporean Government Issues Public Transport Vouchers to 30,000 Households

Singaporean Mass Rapid Transport (MRT)
Singapore’s Mass Rapid Transport (MRT) is a quick, affordable, and convenient way to get from one corner of the country to another. It has five lines that connect over 130 stations across the island. From the Central Business District,Chinatown, Marina Bay, Bayfront, to the north and western districts of the country, MRT lines make public transport journeys shorter and comfortable for commuters.

MRT Cards and Charges
Singaporeans mostly use the EZ-Link card to pay for their MRT travels. One needs to top-up the card and the minimum amount is $10. You can pay withcash or debit/credit card. The value of the card is deducted only when you use it. Apart from the EZ-link card, there is a NETS Flashpay card that is being charged on the basis of distance travelled.MRT fares range from S$0.83 to S$1.95 for a single trip if you are paying using the EZ-link card. To help low-income households save money on their travel journeys, the Singaporean government is offering public transport subsidies.

Public Transport Vouchers
The Government will issue public transport vouchers to 30,000 households with low monthly income per person not exceedingS$1,200. Low-income households are not required to apply for the scheme, whether they have applied for it or received such vouchers in the past. They automatically qualify under the Ministry of Social and Family Development's (MSF) ComCare schemes. They can use the voucher to top up the EZ-link card or buy monthly concession passes.

30,000 households that are getting the vouchers will receive a redemption letter and their vouchers will be delivered by early December 2020. However, other residents who are eligible for the scheme need to apply for S$50 vouchers at their community centres or clubs from October 31 to January 31, 2021. Now the government is offering a total of 450,000 $50 vouchers to Singaporeans. The People’s Association and the Ministry of Transport have mentioned that senior citizens, students, and other groups will continue to receive concessions as they used to get earlier.

“The council’s mandate will not change. (It) will always be to ensure that fares remain affordable for Singaporeans,” said the Public Transport Council chairman Richard Magnus.

How MRT Operators and the Government Have Made MRT Affordable?
Singapore’s MRT network is operated by SMRT and SBS Transit. SMRT is a leading multi-modal public transport service provider. It has played a crucial role in providing a high-quality, affordable, safe, and reliable public transport system. SMRT submits applications to PTC for annual fare review and fare adjustments. PTC then decides on the fare adjustments based on the affordability of the fares and the financial viability of SMRT. The company continuously invests in rail engineering expertise, leverages digitalisation and technology, upgrades the skills of the workforce, and partners with leading institutes and the government to improve customer experiences and services.

“With a strong foundation in our core businesses, we can look forward to greater growth in a sunrise industry made up of an expanding rail network in Singapore, and increasing mobility needs in a growing region. We will remain united and focused on our mission of Moving People, Enhancing Lives,” said Neo Kian Hong, SMRT CEO.

Conclusion
The government of Singapore and MRT operators are all working together in providing commuters with the best-in-class transit lifestyle and affordable price points. The public transport voucher scheme and improvements introduced by SMRT and other operators will enable low-income households and other residents to travel conveniently using trains while saving money.

About the Author
Clement Yong
Clement is a financial manager at a leading company in Singapore. He has previously worked in financial audit leadership roles. In his free time, he loves to write about the financial structure followed in different sectors, especially public transportation systems. He also loves reading books.

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