Friday 29 June 2012

SMRT increases early travel discount to 50 cents from 6 August 2012

More incentives to encourage off-peak travel on trains
By Olivia Siong, Channel NewsAsia, 28 Jun 2012

More discounts and incentives for train commuters who choose to travel during off-peak periods.

Starting 6 August, commuters will get 50 cents off their fares under the SMRT Early Travel Discount Scheme - up from the current 30 cents.

This is if they end their journey before 7.45am on weekdays at stations in the city area.

The amount was last increased from 10 cents to 30 cents in October 2011.

Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew announced this during a visit to Clementi MRT Station and Bus Interchange on Thursday.

The discount will also be extended to five more stations in the city - Bayfront, Bras Basah, Esplanade, Marina Bay and Promenade stations on the Circle Line.

There are currently nine exit stations in the city participating in the discount scheme - Bugis, City Hall, Dhoby Ghaut, Lavender, Orchard, Outram Park, Raffles Place, Somerset and Tanjong Pagar.

This will bring the total number of exit stations eligible for the discount in the city area to 14.

But some commuters had their reservations.

A commuter said: "Everyone will travel at a certain time, they won't want to change it for such a small thing."

Another said: "I think it's good for the general public but I think if you need to reach work on time it doesn't really matter."

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) and SMRT said that currently, three to four per cent of commuters have shifted their travel time out of the morning peak hour.

This makes up about 2,000 of approximately 60,000 commuter trips made between 8 to 9am, at the nine stations under SMRT's Early Travel Discount Scheme.

Mr Lui hopes the number will increase by another three to four per cent.

"There are those who will choose to stay with their current travel arrangements, we can understand that. But for as long as we are able to incentivise some people to shift their travel patterns, travel a little bit earlier in the morning for example, I think we would have achieved our goals."

Another scheme known as the Incentives for Singapore Commuters' Study (INSINC) will also be extended by 18 months - from 10 July.

It comprises a reward system where commuters earn credits if they travel before or after peak periods.

Credits can then be exchanged for cash rewards.

Carried out by the National University of Singapore and Stanford University, with the support of LTA, the study was launched in January and has attracted close to 17,000 participants so far.

Almost 10 per cent of participants were able to shift their weekday peak period trips to off-peak periods.

Off peak periods are between 6.30am to 7.30am and 8.30am to 9.30am.

LTA has paid out more than S$120,000 in rewards to date.

And starting from 1 November, LTA said it will double the maximum cash prize from S$100 to S$200.

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