SBS Transit sends two buses for premium service 564

SINGAPORE - Bus operator SBS Transit deployed two 35-seater buses for Premium Bus Service 564 on Thursday morning - a day after a group of commuters could not board when a 30-seater pulled up instead of their usual 46-seater.

Undergraduate Ben Chua, 24, who witnessed Wednesday's events which resulted in a brief stand-off between the bus driver and several upset passengers, said things returned to normal on Thursday.

He said the first bus was full, but the second bus had only three passengers on board.

"Some of the Caucasians... who were asked to exit (on Wednesday) didn't take the bus today," he wrote on his Facebook page, adding that a few other regulars did not board either.

Mr Chua said he heard from one of the bus drivers that SBS Transit would revert to a 46-seater bus, but the company would only say that "we're monitoring the situation".

When asked what could be done to prevent a recurrence of incidents such as Wednesday's - which quite likely resulted in several commuters being late for work - the Land Transport Authority merely said that SBS Transit was not in breach of its bus service licence.

"Operators of premium bus services have the discretion to decide on the capacity of buses used based on expected demand for the service," it noted.

There are 106 premium bus services plying here.

Rival bus operator SMRT said for its premium services, it uses mostly 12-metre buses that seat 34 to 38 passengers or articulated buses that seat 59.

Only two out of 10 of its services make use of smaller 19-seater buses, "because of the narrow roads in the residential estates along their routes".

Passengers pay up to $7 for a ride on a premium bus and are guaranteed seats. Standing is not allowed on such buses.

christan@sph.com.sg