Bus frequency improved, buses also less congested: LTA

The first privately run feeder bus service, 912P, began plying the roads in Woodlands yesterday. The service will overlay the busiest stretches of feeder route 912 to reduce waiting times and ease congestion. -- ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH
The first privately run feeder bus service, 912P, began plying the roads in Woodlands yesterday. The service will overlay the busiest stretches of feeder route 912 to reduce waiting times and ease congestion. -- ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

Bus frequency has improved by one to five minutes on average and buses are less congested now, said the Land Transport Authority (LTA) yesterday.

Providing an update on its ongoing Bus Service Enhancement Programme, the LTA said 339 of 550 state-funded buses have been put on the road as of last month. These new buses have been used to improve 125 existing bus services, and introduce 18 new routes islandwide.

Parliamentary Secretary for Transport Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim said the programme has "helped to reduce the crowded situation in some of the buses, and reduce waiting time for the commuters at the same time".

In the first quarter of this year, additional buses have been added to 25 bus services with heavy ridership during peak hours.

The LTA cited how service 195, run by SBS Transit, now arrives at bus stops every eight to 12 minutes in the morning peak period, compared with 10 to 13 minutes previously.

The LTA has also tapped private bus operators to boost the network, with seven express bus services named City Direct launched.

Yesterday, the first privately run feeder bus service began plying the roads in Woodlands. The "peak period short service" 912P will overlay the busiest stretches of feeder route 912 to reduce waiting times and ease congestion. It is operated by BT&Tan Transport and Commute Solutions, which will run 11 trips each in the morning and evening peak hours.

Sembawang GRC MP Ellen Lee said residents had complained about long queues and long waits for routes 911 and 912.

Technical officer Gaw Kai Muh, 34, who uses service 912, said he waits about 15 minutes to board the second bus that comes along in the morning, but it gets worse in the evening. "We need this service (912P). When I go home, I've waited 30 to 40 minutes for the bus."

Ms Lee hopes service 912P will alleviate the frustration. "Any extra supply will always be helpful, as residents often have to rush during the peak hours," she said.

Three more of such services will be introduced in Ang Mo Kio, Bedok and Boon Lay in the next three weeks.

The LTA said another bus route will be extended in the second quarter of this year to serve Kallang residents, and that details will be given later.

Last month, Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew announced that his ministry would fund and roll out another 450 buses by 2017.

Dr Faishal said he is confident that this will translate to a "significant improvement" in bus services over the next few years.

Separately, falling ridership has prompted SMRT to have its seven Night Rider services end more than two hours earlier from April 30, and run only one way. The seven services will run from 11.30pm until 2am on Friday and Saturday nights, instead of till 4.30am previously. These will also operate in only one direction from the city instead of in a loop.

SMRT spokesman Alina Boey said the changes will allow it to "maintain a balance between reasonable services for commuters and business sustainability".

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