690 govt-funded buses on the road; $420m spent

SBS Transit buses at the Toa Payoh Interchange.
SBS Transit buses at the Toa Payoh Interchange. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - More than one-third of the $1.1 billion in taxpayer's funds set aside to boost Singapore's bus fleet has been disbursed.

The Land Transport Authority said on Friday (Oct 9) that about $420 million has gone towards buying and operating new buses, the introduction of new bus services, and improvement of existing bus services.

As of Sept 30, a total of 690 tax-funded buses have been added under the Bus Service Enhancement Programme (BSEP).

Together with the Bus Service Reliability Framework (BSRF), the LTA said commuters have experienced better connectivity, less crowded buses and more regular bus arrivals.

To-date, 45 new or amended bus services have been rolled out. In September, four new services - SBS Transit Service 102 and City Direct Services CDS 661, 662 and 663 - were implemented to provide additional connectivity to commuters.

In the fourth quarter of this year, residents in Tampines/Simei, and Marsiling/Woodlands can look forward to another two City Direct Services - CDS 664 and 665.

Seven more new routes will also be introduced to enhance connectivity in areas such as Bedok, Bukit Panjang, Choa Chu Kang, Jurong East, Jurong West, Marine Parade, Punggol, Sembawang, Tampines and Yishun.

The BSEP was started in September 2012, and it aimed to put 1,000 additional public buses on the road by 2017. Together with buses injected by the two publicly-listed transport companies, the total fleet of public buses will grow by about 35 per cent.

The BSEP also includes the introduction of 80 new routes.

During the second assessment period of the BSRF trial (December 2014 to May 2015), commuters on average had benefited from more regular wait times and less crowding, according to the LTA, "as there is less prolonged waits, and passenger loads are spread more evenly across bus trips".

As a result, SBST earned $816,000 for reliability improvements to 12 services, and SMRT earned $384,000 for improvements to five services.

The BSRF trial was expanded by 12 services in June 2015, with 11 more services joining the trial in December. This brings the total number of services under the trial to 45.