Mr Khaw Boon Wan Also Referred To The Off-Peak Pass As “An Experiment That Failed Miserably”
Did you know that Members of Parliament (MP) can actually help pay for your transport fares?
But wait, before you start writing in to your local MPs, you’d first have to be a senior citizen. Not to mention the whole ‘being-unable-to-afford-your-travel-fares-in-the-first-place’ thing.
But if you’re reading this and you meet both requirements, congratulations — you may be able to receive financial assistance from the Government.
According to Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan, anyway.
New transport fares introduced
In December last year, a new fare adjustment was introduced by the Public Transport Council (PTC).
Commuters were able to to enjoy a discount of up to 50 cents if they tapped in at any MRT or LRT station before 7:45am.
However, this fare reduction also saw the removal of the Free Pre-Peak Travel (FPPT) scheme and Off-Peak Pass (OPP) — the latter of which was quoted by Mr Khaw as a scheme that failed miserably.
Previous transport scheme deemed a failure
When it was first introduced in June 2015, the Off-Peak Pass scheme was intended to encourage commuters to travel during off-peak periods.
However, Mr Khaw revealed that in the two years it was available, less than 200 users had actually made the switch.
Hence, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and PTC decided to discontinue it in favour of the new fare reduction.
Furthermore, the Government stated that amongst the senior citizens who held concession cards, less than 1 per cent had purchased the OPP.
Mr Khaw remarked succinctly,
The result has been disappointing.
But this still meant that the 200 or so commuters were affected by the cancellation, right?
MPs can “chip in” for transport fares
Which is why Nee Soon GRC MP Lee Bee Wah questioned if there were plans to provide additional help for those affected in Parliament on Monday (5 Feb).
To which Mr Khaw said the following,
When we know a particular resident has been inconvenienced because of this, and despite the various 25 per cent discounts and so on, could not still afford their transport fares, as a local MP we do chip in if I discover such cases. (emphasis ours)
Which is actually really wholesome — unfortunately, netizens weren’t too pleased.
Where is the money actually coming from?
As per usual, many criticised Mr Khaw for his statement — mainly for how vague it was.
Some questioned whether the money chipped in actually came from his own pockets or the taxpayers’ money.
While others talked about the lack of clarity on the process of actually applying for such a scheme. Or how much they were entitled.
One even stated that the elderly shouldn’t be charged transportation fees.
Seems like poor Mr Khaw can never seem to catch a break no matter what he says.
Where’s the proof?
Still, the netizens do make a point. How many of you actually know that our MPs are able to chip in for the elderly’s fares? And if you do, how do you actually go about getting it?
Furthermore, there’s always the issue of where the extra money actually comes from — are they paying it from their own pockets, or is there a budget allocated solely just for this?
Is this even legitimate?
So many questions but no answers.