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    Jan 24, 2014

    Premium buses may raise fares

    ON THE heels of public-transport fare hikes that take effect in April, operators of premium bus services have also applied to the Public Transport Council (PTC) to raise fares.

    PTC confirmed to Lianhe Zaobao that bus operator SMRT and its subsidiary Bus-Plus have submitted requests to raise fares.

    The council said that it is considering the applications and cannot reveal the magnitude of the proposed hikes, but said that the operators are citing higher operating costs as the reason.

    According to regulations, a premium bus service has to charge at least 50 per cent more than a basic bus service plying the same route.

    SMRT declined to reveal details of the request.

    There are now more than 90 premium bus services, an increase of nearly 30 per cent from two years ago. Most services link housing estates to the Central Business District or Changi Business Park.

    There are more than 20 operators. SMRT and Bus-Plus operate 12 routes in total.

    Other operators are also considering fare hikes, Zaobao reported.

    Bus Hub, which runs three routes in Yio Chu Kang, Seletar and Yishun, told the Chinese daily that it planned to submit its application by today. The company wants to raise fares by 50 cents to $1. It now charges between $4.50 and $6.

    Bus Hub managing director V. Anilan said: "We have been thinking of raising fares for some time now. Our drivers' pay has gone up by 20 per cent in the last two years; and we have to deal with much higher certificate-of-entitlement prices when buying new vehicles.

    "These have added greatly to our costs."

    Bus Hub last revised its fares in 2011.

    SBS Transit, which operates more than 30 routes, did not reply to queries from Zaobao about potential fare increases.