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Khaw: Public transport fares may go up

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It is not sustainable for taxpayers to increasingly subsidise the cost of operating Singapore's public transport systems, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said in Parliament yesterday as he raised the possibility of commuters paying higher fares.

Mr Khaw said that over the next five years, the Government expects to subsidise public bus services by almost $4 billion.

Under the new Bus Contracting Model, fare revenue goes to the Government, but this is still insufficient to cover operating costs, explained Mr Khaw.

The Government also expects to spend another $4 billion or so on replacing ageing rail assets in the same time frame.

"And all this is on top of about $20 billion we will be spending to build new public transport infrastructure," he added.

Mr Khaw said the Public Transport Council (PTC) will review the fare formula when it expires following this year's fare adjustment exercise.

"They will consult widely. I am confident that they will decide wisely," he said.

"But remember, the PTC... sometimes they have to adjust fares upwards. If they do, I hope commuters will be understanding." - CHRISTOPHER TAN

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