Designing a better ride on public buses

LTA's tender requires companies to consider factors such as comfort, safety and carrying capacity during peak hours. Bidders must also build actual-size mock-ups of prototype buses.
LTA's tender requires companies to consider factors such as comfort, safety and carrying capacity during peak hours. Bidders must also build actual-size mock-ups of prototype buses.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Catering to various commuter groups part of LTA tender requirements

PUBLIC buses will offer a better ride in the future as the Land Transport Authority (LTA) studies how to improve their design.

It is looking at tweaks to improve commuter flow, for instance getting passengers to move to the back of the bus, and to minimise the time they take to board and alight.

It will also look at catering to different groups of commuters, including the elderly who need seats, the visually challenged with guide dogs, and travellers with bulky items.

Last week, the LTA called a tender asking manufacturers and suppliers to submit design proposals based on these considerations, and to build actual-size mock- ups of prototype buses.

"LTA is studying what enhancements in design and features could be incorporated for future bus purchases and are best suited to operations in Singapore," a spokesman said.

The concept models must have passenger seats, driver's cabin, handrails and other interior and exterior fittings, according to the tender documents.

A workable door system, interior lighting and air-conditioning will also have to be installed.

The tender, which closes next month, requires companies to consider factors such as comfort, safety and carrying capacity during peak hours.

These concept buses - two single-deckers and two double-deckers - will be shown to the public to gather their feedback.

This will be valuable when deciding on future bus purchases, LTA said.

As the bus industry transits into a state contracting model, all fleets and infrastructure will be government-owned, with routes tendered out to operators to run.

The first tender package for 24 routes in the western part of the island is expected to be awarded soon. Eight companies shortlisted include local operators SBS Transit and SMRT, and players from Australia, Britain and France.

A poll of 30 bus commuters found that enhancements relating to safety, accessibility and comfort were top of their wishlists.

"I hope for more handrails, especially in the middle of the bus," said undergraduate Alison Ong, 20. Ms Clare Wong, 51, a homemaker, wanted more space for big items like market trolleys and luggage. Others suggested wider seats and more seating set aside for the elderly and disabled.

Retiree Lee Ley Lun, 60, said: "How about some piped music and brighter (interior) colours to cheer everyone up?"

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