PARLIAMENT

Bus sector: LTA set to get more power

Under a new Bill introduced in Parliament yesterday, the LTA will also be in charge of regulating the operators of bus services, depots and interchanges. The oversight is now handled by the Public Transport Council.
Under a new Bill introduced in Parliament yesterday, the LTA will also be in charge of regulating the operators of bus services, depots and interchanges. The oversight is now handled by the Public Transport Council.ST FILE PHOTO

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) could be given more power in running the public bus industry, under proposed changes introduced in Parliament yesterday.

In addition to planning bus routes and contracting them out, which it currently does, the LTA will also be put in charge of regulating the operators of bus services, depots and interchanges.

The oversight is now handled by the Public Transport Council (PTC), which will hand that role over to the LTA, if the Bill is passed.

The Bus Services Industry Bill will support the restructuring of the public bus industry to a contracting model, in which routes are tendered out for operators to bid for and run over a specific period.

Under it, operators can be rewarded for meeting service standards or penalised if they fall short.

A Ministry of Transport spokesman said: "As LTA will henceforth be responsible for all three functions - regulator, contractor and planner of bus services - it will be able to manage bus services more holistically."

Along with the new legislation, Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew also introduced the Public Transport Council (Amendment) Bill yesterday. This will allow the PTC to take on an advisory role to the Government, once it has transferred its regulatory role to the LTA.

The PTC may undertake surveys, for example, to obtain public feedback and recommend improvements to the public transport system, the proposed Bill said.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (Amendment) Bill was also introduced by Mr Lui to set up the Changi Airport Development Fund. It is expected to receive an initial injection of $3 billion and will be used for developments such as Terminal 5.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 14, 2015, with the headline 'Bus sector: LTA set to get more power'. Print Edition | Subscribe