It's a Lush Green makeover for new bus fleet

One of two concept double- decker buses, featuring three doors and two stairways, on display at the Bus Carnival at Ngee Ann City yesterday. Visitors can give feedback on the features and configuration of the buses. The carnival ends tomorrow but wil
One of two concept double- decker buses, featuring three doors and two stairways, on display at the Bus Carnival at Ngee Ann City yesterday. Visitors can give feedback on the features and configuration of the buses. The carnival ends tomorrow but will continue at VivoCity from March 25 to 27, and at the HDB Hub from April 1 to 3.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Change in colour begins in late May with 50 buses under government bus-contracting system; vehicles to also have more doors and stairways

Lush Green is the colour of choice as buses here get their biggest makeover since Singapore Bus Service was formed in 1973.

The new colour was picked by nearly 29,000 commuters in a poll. The "greenies" beat those who wanted Bright Red by just 144 votes.

Lush Green will be rolled out progressively as government bus contracts take effect.

The makeover will start with 50 buses from late May, when Australian firm Tower Transit starts operating from the Bulim Depot in Jurong.

The Government's bus contracting is as significant as the colour shift as it overhauls a public bus regime that has been largely unchanged for about four decades.

Under the new system, the state owns all fixed and operating assets and bus operators focus on meeting service standards.

After Bulim, British firm Go-Ahead will run routes from Loyang from September.

The Straits Times understands that the next package of routes to be put up for bidding is likely to be in Woodlands.

Besides the new colour, passengers, as well as drivers, can also look forward to a new generation of buses that will have three doors (from two now), and two stairwells instead of one (for double-deckers).

 

These will make boarding and alighting faster, and contribute to shorter journeys.

There could also be a gamut of cabin amenities such as USB

 

charging ports and warning systems for driver fatigue, speed and blind spots.

The three-door buses, slightly taller and longer than today's buses, will start streaming in by about end-2018, while the new internal features will be introduced from the year end.

The Land Transport Authority said yesterday that it has not decided on the exact configuration.

"We are at the stage of gathering public feedback," said group director for public transport Yeo Teck Guan. He was speaking at the Bus Carnival at Ngee Ann City, where visitors can give their feedback. The event started yesterday, and continues this weekend.

Touchscreen pads are set up next to two concept buses - one by Britain's Alexander Dennis (Bus A) and the other by Germany's Man (Bus B).

Bus A's third door is near its tail, while the one on Bus B is right next to its second door, with a partition.

Ms Carol Lim, 55, a special needs educator who was at the carnival yesterday, said she prefers Bus A, in which the second and third doors are farther apart. "I think that's better for the flow of people," she said.

Meanwhile, 42-year-old Patrick Ang, who is self-employed and a wheelchair user, felt Bus B is more accessible. "There is also more space for me inside," he said.

Bus A also got the vote of police national serviceman Cleon Bong, 21. "I like the separated doors. At the upper deck, everyone can exit from the back," he said.

Resort receptionist Ying Kit, 36, said: "If the door is behind, passengers have to walk all the way to the back. With Bus B, it's more centralised.

"This new bus reminds me of luxury coaches - that's a good thing."

Government Parliamentary Committee for Transport member and Mountbatten MP Lim Biow Chuan said: "I like both."

He was among a VIP entourage led by Senior Minister of State for Transport Ng Chee Meng that witnessed the unveiling of the new bus colour as well as the two bus concepts yesterday.

Other visitors interviewed said the USB ports were "good to have", but unnecessary.

The Bus Carnival will continue from March 25 to 27 at VivoCity, and from April 1 to 3 at the HDB Hub in Toa Payoh.

PHOTOS: Singapore's bus of the future http://str.sg/ZFh3

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 12, 2016, with the headline 'It's a Lush Green makeover for new bus fleet'. Print Edition | Subscribe