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Concession Passes For Working Adults: Are They Ever Worth It?

Its like a buffet, but for public transport.

Many graduates who step into the working world will quickly realise they spend much more money than they previously did as a student. Work-related expenses, such as buying office wear, eating out daily and transport expenses, will add up. 

The latter is especially true as students may be used to free shuttle buses or their student concession passes to get around each day. Now that they are no longer eligible for student concession passes, the natural question is whether the Adult Monthly Travel Card is something they should consider as working adults.

Given the previous round of bus and train fares increase in December 2023, getting a monthly concession pass may become a more attractive option – as it remains unchanged at $128 per month. Adult fares were increased by 10 to 11 cents, while concessionary fares for seniors, students, and people with disabilities were raised by 4 to 5 cents.

Read Also: Bus & Train Fares Are Increasing By 2.2%. How Are Public Transport Prices Determined By The Public Transport Council?

About The Adult Monthly Travel Pass (AMTP)

The Adult Monthly Travel Card is one of two transport concession cards available for adults. The other one is the Workfare Transport Concession Card, but this is only valid for those aged 30 to 60, and receiving Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) payments. 

Via the Adult Monthly Travel Card, you can purchase a $128 Adult Monthly Travel Pass (AMTP), which grants unlimited travel on basic bus and train services. For new graduates, this is 41% more than what you would have been paying as a university student.

If this is the first time you’re getting the AMTP, you’ll first need to apply for the Adult Monthly Travel Card (AMTC), which will cost you $8.10, including a one-time $5 card cost ,$3.10 personalisation fee. After applying, you will receive your AMTC in the mail in two to four weeks’ time. After activation, you can purchase the Adult Monthly Travel Pass in subsequent months via SimplyGo Ticketing Service Centre, Ticket Office, SimplyGo Kiosk, Assisted Service Kiosk or via the SimplyGo Portal and SimplyGo app.

Given that it costs so much more, is the adult concession pass ever worth it? This boils down to two factors: how much you use public transport; and your travel distance.

Read Also: Find Out How Much Today’s MRT Downtime Costs You

How Far Do You Travel?

According to the Land Transport Authority, distance-based pricing was introduced to allow commuters to make transfers without being penalised. This is aimed to help commuters reduce travelling time by choosing transfers when it makes sense for them while reducing the strain on public transport during peak hours.

For example, instead of waiting for a direct bus, a commuter could take a feeder bus to the nearest interchange before continuing their commute by train or another bus without paying extra.

This means that your fare depends on how far you travel, and the AMTP will likely suit you better if you travel longer distances.

How Often Do You Travel?

Beyond just commuting to work, how often you use public transport depends on your lifestyle.

If you head to town or visit your relatives during the weekends, you are likely to use public transport regularly. However, if you mostly stay at home or have a habit of driving during weekends, you may use public transport less frequently.

We illustrate these factors in the three following scenarios, so you can decide when it makes sense for you to get an AMTP.

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Scenario 1: Medium Frequency Public Transport User Who Stays Near Their Workplace

Andy lives within walking distance of Commonwealth MRT. He commutes to his office near Tanjong Pagar MRT during weekdays and the commute is 6.3km. During weekends, he rides the bus for two return trips twice a week.  His bus rides are around 4km.

Cost of MRT commute from Commonwealth to Tanjong Pagar: $1.49.  

Given there are about 22 working days in October, assuming he takes the same return trip, he spends $1.49 * 2 * 22 = $65.56 on his MRT journeys.  

Cost of 4km Bus Ride: $1.29.  

Cost of bus rides on weekends = $1.29 * 2 * 9 = $23.22. 

Total amount spent on public transport = $65.56 + $23.22 = $88.78. 

It’s clear that Andy should not get the AMTP, which costs over 44% more than the amount he currently spends each month.

Scenario 2: Medium Frequency Public Transport User Who Stays Far From Work

Ben lives in Sengkang. He commutes to his office at Tampines MRT during weekdays. This is a commute of 17.5km. During weekends, he rides his bus around his neighbourhood to run errands twice a week.

Cost of MRT commute from Sengkang to Tampines: $2.00. 

Thus, he spends $2.00 * 2 * 22 = $88 on MRT travels, and like Andy, he spends $23.22 on bus rides on the weekends.  

Total amount spent on public transport = $88 + $23.22 = $111.22. This will increase to $111.22 from December 2022.

In this scenario, the AMTP still costs more than paying normal adult fares.

Scenario 3: High-Frequency Public Transport User Who Stays Far From Work

Charles lives in Marsiling. He commutes to his office at Tampines MRT. During weekends, he takes 2 return trips which cost $1.66 each way.

Cost of MRT commute from Marsiling to Tampines: $2.30. 

Under the same assumptions, he spends $2.30 * 2 * 22 = $101.20 commuting to work. 

Cost of weekend travel: = $1.66 * 2 * 2 * 9 = $59.76. 

Total Amount Spent = $101.20 + $59.76 = $160.96.

In this scenario which involves lots of frequent long-distance travelling, it can pay off to get an adult concession pass. This scenario might be relatable to people who visit relatives frequently and head to town during the weekends.

This scenario may also be applicable to people who travel regularly on public transport to meet clients regularly, like insurance and real estate agents.

Calculating Your Own Usage

To find out whether an AMTP is worth it, you can calculate your average daily public transport expenditure through the Fare Calculator. If it exceeds $4.30 a day, you may consider buying an AMTP.

If you find that having to calculate your own usage seems overly cumbersome, you can consider topping up your EZ-Link card to $128. If the value of your card runs out in less than one month, an AMTP may be a good idea.

For most people, the decision to get the AMTP would not be affected by the previous round of fare increases. However, if you are constantly close to spending $128 on bus and train fares, the fare increase may have pushed you towards getting the AMTP.

You Can Buy the AMTP On A Monthly Basis

If you’re struggling to decide between either option because your schedule varies across different months, you may be relieved to know that the AMTP is renewed monthly. You can top-up the AMTP during the months you expect to utilise public transport heavily atSimplyGo Ticketing Service Centre, Ticket Office, SimplyGo Kiosk, Assisted Service Kiosk or via the SimplyGo Portal and SimplyGo app. Outside the validity periods, you can use the same card to pay normal adult fares.

As shown by the above scenarios, the utility of the AMTP is maximised if you travel long-distances frequently. By working out the cost of your public transport habits, you can best decide whether an AMTP is suitable for you.

Read Also: Is Singapore The World Most Expensive City?

This article was first published on 7 July 2018 and was updated with new information.

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