PTC to look into extending student concession fares for ‘transition period’ after graduation

SINGAPORE – The Public Transport Council (PTC) will look into extending concessionary fares to graduating students, for the transition period before they enter their next education stage or join the workforce.

Transport Minister Chee Hong Tat wrote on Facebook on May 28 that he has asked the PTC to look into this as part of the 2024 fare review exercise, following feedback from parents and students.

Currently, for instance, students leaving secondary schools qualify for concessionary fares for only the first month after they graduate. For those entering polytechnic, where the academic year starts in April, they face a two-month period during which they have to pay adult fares.

Mr Chee said the move, if eventually rolled out, will also help other groups of students like those from the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) going to the polytechnics, or secondary school students going to ITE.

“We are also open to include graduating students who are joining the workforce, as the transition can provide them some temporary support before they start work,” Mr Chee continued.

Under the current fare structure, students pay between 48 cents and 70 cents by card for bus or MRT journeys, compared with $1.09 to $2.37 for adults.

Secondary school and polytechnic students can buy hybrid monthly concession passes that costs $49 for unlimited bus and train rides, while a similar pass for adults costs $128.

A PTC spokesperson told The Straits Times that the council will review Mr Chee’s request as part of deliberations for the 2024 fare review exercise, which is starting in the later part of the year.

The council is a statutory board under the Ministry of Transport that regulates the fares and service standards of public buses and the MRT.

With some exceptions, fare revisions are usually made in December. The most recent one came into effect on Dec 23, 2023, with adult fares rising by 10 to 11 cents per journey, while concessionary fares for students, senior citizens and others went up by four to five cents.

The prices of various hybrid monthly passes that can be used for buses and trains for different concessionary groups were cut by up to 10 per cent.

Singapore Polytechnic aerospace electronics student Bryce Sim, 16, who started his first term in April 2024, found himself topping up his stored value card more frequently while working as an intern at a Catholic organisation after finishing his secondary school.

Tang Wei Lun, 17, a first-year mechatronic and robotics student at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, said he was “relieved” that the extension of concessionary fares for post-secondary school students was being explored.

He said he spent significantly more on public transport compared with his days in secondary school until he received his polytechnic concession card nearly three weeks after classes started in late April. He had applied for the card at his poly in the first week of April.

“The adult fare really hurt my wallet during that period,” he added. 

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