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     avaILabLE aT MajOr                                                                                                     august 6, 2011 | www.todayonline.com
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     STarbucKS OuTLETS                                                                                      NEWS HOTLINE 6822 2268 | a pubLIcaTION Of                      | MIca (p) 200/02/2011

Markets slump
despite strong                                      Transport fares to go up 1%
US jobs data                                        Transport council rejects
                                                    operators’ request for                                                                                    ¢ pubLIc TraNSpOrT farE
WASHINGTON — US stocks fell, extending the                                                                                                                    cHaNgES frOM OcT 8
worst slump for the Standard & Poor’s 500           2.8% hike, stresses that                                                                                  adults:
Index since 2009, as concern that America
                                                    fares remain affordable                                                                                   • Those using contactless cards like
will lose its top credit rating overshadowed                                                                                                                    ezlink and Nets Flashpay will pay
stronger-than-forecast growth in jobs.                           LEONg WEE KEaT                                                                                 2 cents more per journey
                                                               weekeat@mediacorp.com.sg                                                                       • Those making cash payments will
     The S&P 500 reversed an early 1.5 per
cent rally, dropping by as much as 1.1 per cent     SINGAPORE — In a nod to Singaporeans’                                                                       pay 10 cents more per journey
during the first hour of trading. Caterpillar,      anxiety over rising costs of living, the Pub-
Bank of America and Home Depot fell more            lic Transport Council (PTC) said yesterday                                                                Senior citizens:
than 1.3 per cent, leading declines among the       it would be “hard-pressed” to grant SBS
                                                                                                                                                              • Those using contactless cards will
                                                                                                                                                                pay 1 cent more per journey
largest US companies. The S&P 500 declined          Transit and SMRT the maximum 2.8 per
                                                                                                                                                              • Concession travel extended to
0.3 per cent to 1,196.86 at 11 am in New York.      cent fare hike sought by the two public
                                                                                                                                                                full-day throughout the week
The benchmark gauge tumbled 4.8 per cent            transport operators.
yesterday, its worst drop since February 2009.            Instead, the PTC granted a “significant-                                                            all commuters:
The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped            ly less” overall net fare adjustment of 1 per                                                             • SMRT’s discount for off-peak
22.48 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 11,361.2, after   cent, or about an additional S$15 million for                                                               morning travel will triple to
sinking 512.76 points yesterday.                    the two operators combined.                                                                                 30 cents
     “The jobs report was surprisingly good,              The Government and the two public
                                                                                                                                                                                 pHOTO by ErNEST cHua
the economy is still growing, but that doesn’t      transport operators also announced yester-
mean that you won’t have challenges to over-        day that they would help low-income fami-             For SBS Transit, fuel and electricity          train fares have remained affordable for the
come,” Mr Bruce McCain, who helps oversee           lies cope with the fare increases by providing    costs increased by 25 per cent in the first        majority of commuters.”
US$22 billion (S$26.8 billion) at the private-      S$4 million worth of transport vouchers.          quarter. SBS Transit chief executive Gan                The PTC’s “reality check” on the op-
banking unit of KeyCorp in Cleveland, said.               From Oct 8, adult card fares will in-       Juan Kiat said: “With costs rising, especially     erators’ Return on Total Assets (ROTA), an
“The fear of a downgrade will be with us for        crease by 2 cents per journey on buses and        fuel and manpower costs, it is difficult to        indicator of profitability, also found they
a while. It’s time to become more cautious,         trains. There will be no change to child/         keep fares unchanged.”                             were not considered excessively high when
not defensive, but cautious.”                       student concessionary card fares.                     The SMRT pointed out that operat-              compared with similar industry structures
     About US$1.8 trillion has been erased                Adults who pay cash on public trans-        ing cost increased by S$54.3 million last          and risk profiles.
from American equities as reports on manu-          port will pay 10 cents more per trip. Only        year, and pledged to “continually challenge             Government Parliamentary Committee
facturing and consumer spending showed              2 per cent of total daily bus trips — or about    ourselves to innovate and offer commuters          for Transport chairman Cedric Foo applaud-
the world’s largest economy is slowing. Stock-      107,000 — are made by adults using cash,          better experiences”.                               ed the Government’s move to set aside
futures jumped after Labor Department data          and just 1 per cent of total daily train trips                                                       funds to help the needy through transport
showed payrolls rose by 117,000 workers after       — or about 45,000 — are made using cash.          farES rEMaIN affOrdabLE: pTc                       vouchers and the extension of senior citizen
a 46,000 increase in June that was more than        There will be no change to senior citizen         Asked if the PTC had considered not grant-         concession hours. But he said his committee
originally estimated. The median estimate           and child/student cash fares.                     ing any fare increase, Mr Ee replied that          will work towards getting concessionary
in a Bloomberg News survey called for a July              Concessionary travel for senior citizens    doing so “is not really finding a balance          travel for polytechnic students.
gain of 85,000. The jobless rate dropped to         will also be extended to full day throughout      between commuters and operators”.                       To help needy families cope with the
9.1 percent — from 9.2 per cent in June — as        the week.                                              Mr Ee noted that the PTC avoided tak-         fare adjustment, the Government, together
more Americans left the labour force.                     Overall, the average fare increase trans-   ing the mid-point of 1.4 per cent which may        with SBS Transit and the SMRT, have set
>> cONTINuEd ON pagE 4                              lates to about 15 cents a week for the 85 per     seem to be “the easiest answer”.                   aside S$4 million to fund 200,000 public
                                                    cent of commuters who would see a fare                 Said Mr Ee: “I think that would have          transport vouchers.
                                                    increase, the PTC said.                           been a bit flippant. We actually look at all the   >> cONTINuEd ON pagE 3
    Start of fast                                         PTC chairman Gerard Ee stressed yes-        feedback from commuters, and commuters
    5.36am                                          terday the decision was made after “careful       are not happy with a range of things.”              >> aLL-day cONcESSIONary
                                                    deliberation”, taking into account the coun-           The council stressed that public trans-              TravEL, LOWEr farES
    Break fast                                      cil’s mandate to keep fares affordable while      port fares remain affordable, citing the fall             fOr SENIOr cITIzENS 3
    7.17pm                                          ensuring the operators’ long-term viability.      in monthly public transport expenditure as
                                                          Both SBS Transit and SMRT reiterated        a percentage of household income over the                >> bIggEr dIScOuNT fOr
                                                    costs pressures in their media statements         past seven years.                                             MrT uSErS TO avOId
                                                    yesterday.                                             It added: “This indicates that bus and              MOrNINg pEaK HOurS 3

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