Why change an efficient bus service?

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has constantly introduced new ways to improve transport services in Singapore, such as lower fares, more MRT trains/buses at peak periods and so on.

I believe most of these improvements are successful. But, one which did not succeed is the replacement of the SBS Transit Premium Services.

SBS Transit used to operate service 585 as a premium double decker bus from Bedok Reservoir to Shenton Way, and it was excellent.

Recently, however, it was replaced by a private operator whose services leave much to be desired:

- The bus smells of cigarette smoke.

- The air-conditioning is not cold at all.

- The seating capacity is much smaller, resulting in overcrowding and commuters having to stand. However, the bus is obviously not designed for standing commuters, as there are no grab handles.

- The fare has gone up from $4.20 per trip to $4.50, and $7 if you use cash.

Could LTA enlighten us on the rationale behind the change?

Vincent Ong Kok Lam