Cash incentives for operators to provide reliable bus services

The Government will be offering cash incentives to bus operators who ensure their buses arrive at bus stops on time, but will penalise them if buses arrive later, or even earlier, than scheduled.

Some 25 bus services, or 10 per cent of bus services here, will trial the new Quality Incentive Framework at the end of the year. The framework gives specific targets for operators in terms of bus waiting times at bus stops. Currently the Quality of Service standards, which operators have to follow, focuses on the time between buses leaving the terminals or if buses follow the bus schedules at terminals among other things.

Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew said on Tuesday that the trial is aimed at making bus services more reliable and ensuring more regular bus waiting times for commuters. Bus operators will have to monitor and guide the movement of buses, even as they are running on the roads.

This will "reduce bus bunching and long gaps between consecutive buses, to ask the buses to speed up or slow down where appropriate, or even to introduce some buses mid-stream when warranted," added Mr Lui.

The reward and penalise plan is similar to those in cities like London and Seoul where bus services have improved when the plans were implemented.