Updated: 01/17/2014 02:16

New concession schemes for lower-wage workers and disabled

New concession schemes for lower-wage workers and disabled

The government will spend an estimated $50 million a year on two new targeted public transport concession schemes to mitigate the increase in fares. 

The schemes are targeted at 400,000 lower-wage workers and 50,000 disabled people. 

Lower-wage workers will save 15 per cent on bus and train fares under the new Workfare Transport Concession Scheme or WTCS. 

But the new scheme is only open to recipients of the Workfare Income Supplement. 

They have to be Singaporeans between the ages of 35 and 60, and earn a monthly income of not more than $1,900.

Meanwhile, the disabled community will receive a 25 per cent discount off public transport fares. 

Fares will also be capped for distances beyond 7.2 kilometres. 

This falls under the new Persons with Disabilities or PWD scheme. 

It's open to those who are certified intellectually or physically disabled, visually or hearing impaired, or autistic. 

Beneficiaries of existing disability schemes, and members of relevant Voluntary Welfare Organisations will automatically come under this scheme, as long as they are Singaporeans or permanent residents below the age of 60. 

The disabled are also entitled to a $60 PWD monthly concession pass. 

The pass allows for unlimited rides of bus and train services. 

These new schemes will kick in three months after the transport fare hike in April. 

As an interim measure, lower-wage workers and the disabled will receive financial support - a one-time pay-out of $30 and $80 respectively. 

This is to offset the increase in travel expenditure. 

Besides helping these two groups of commuters, the government will also hand out 250,000 vouchers to needy families. 

These vouchers come in $30 denomination. 

They can be used to purchase or top up fare cards, or monthly fare concession passes. 

Application for these vouchers begin on the 3rd of March. 

They will be distributed from early April onwards. 

-By Valerie Koh

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