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     FrontPage Edition: Mon 17 Oct 2005

Second reading of Public Transport Council (Amendment) Bill 2005

Source: www.gov.sg

SPEECH BY MR YEO CHEOW TONG,MINISTER FOR TRANSPORT, AT THE SECOND READING OF THE PUBLIC TRANSPORT COUNCIL (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2005, 17 OCTOBER 2005, 3.45 PM
MINISTER¡¯S SPEECH FOR THE SECOND READING OF THE PUBLIC TRANSPORT COUNCIL (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2005
Mr Speaker, Sir
I beg to move that the Bill be now read a second time.
Sir, this Bill seeks to amend the Public Transport Council Act (Chapter 259B).
The Public Transport Council or PTC Act was first enacted in August 1987 to provide for the establishment of the Public Transport Council to license bus services and approve public transport fares.
The PTC Act was last amended in 1999. The Ministry and the PTC have reviewed the PTC Act in the light of developments in the public transport industry. The Bill provides for the following key amendments which will improve the regulation of the public transport industry:
(I) the introduction of a bus service operator licensing regime;
(II)the introduction of a regulatory regime for ticket payment services;
(III) enhancement of the PTC¡¯s regulatory power to effect fare adjustments;
(IV) the formalisation of the Fuel Equalisation Fund;
(V) the introduction of a penalty fee system to deter fare evasion; and
Lastly, other amendments to improve the PTC¡¯s operational and regulatory effectiveness.
I will elaborate on these areas and highlight key provisions in the Bill.
(I) To Introduce a Bus Service Operator Licensing Regime
Sir, the PTC Act will be amended to provide for the introduction of a Bus Service Operator Licensing regime to regulate providers of basic scheduled public bus services at both the operator and the network levels.
Currently, the Act only empowers the PTC to license individual bus routes, although in practice, the PTC has been administratively imposing requirements and performance standards at the operator or network level.
Clause 11 empowers the PTC to license and regulate basic bus service operators, namely SBS Transit and SMRT Buses. The PTC already audits basic bus service operators on their service and performance standards, and will continue to review these standards going forward.
With the Bus Service Operator Licensing regime in place, PTC will be able to enforce such standards and licensing conditions by imposing financial penalties of up to $100,000 for any breach of conditions or standards, and in the extreme, by revoking the licence.
The PTC will continue to regulate niche bus services such as the Scheme B and fare-charging condominium services through the issuance of Bus Service Licenses for individual routes.
These provisions in the PTC Bill will further enhance the PTC¡¯s effectiveness in ensuring the quality of public bus services and protecting the interests of commuters. However, in enhancing the PTC¡¯s regulatory effectiveness, I would also emphasise that the PTC would be mindful to avoid over-regulation and unnecessarily raising compliance costs for bus service operators.
(II) Regulatory Regime for Ticket Payment Service
The Bill provides for the introduction of a regulatory regime for ticket payment services. The ez-link card system has become the predominant mode of payment for public transport since it was first introduced in the year 2002.
To safeguard commuters¡¯ interests in areas such as fees for usage of ez-link cards and service standards for sales, replacement, refund and top-up services, we will introduce a regulatory regime for ticket payment services.
The PTC will therefore expand its scope to also regulate the two major providers of ticket payment services, namely EZ-Link Pte Ltd and Transit Link Pte Ltd.
Clause 11 empowers the PTC to impose and enforce ticket payment service requirements and standards.
Similar to the Bus Service Operator Licensing Regime, the PTC will be able to enforce regulatory compliance through financial penalties of up to $100,000 or by revoking the licence.
More.....

Source: www.mot.gov.sg Media Release 17 Oct 2005

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