USB charging ports on 10 new SMRT buses

The 10 buses will begin running on five of SMRT's services from today. Commuters will have to use their own charging cables.
The 10 buses will begin running on five of SMRT's services from today. Commuters will have to use their own charging cables.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

Facilities cater to mobile device users; more such buses will be added from October

Down to the last 10 per cent on your phone battery?

From today, commuters will be able to charge their mobile phones and other devices while on the go, if they are on one of 10 new buses with USB charging ports.

Transport operator SMRT will run the buses on five of its services - routes 61, 67, 985, 963 and 969.

  • 41

    Number of charging ports on each of the new Man A95 buses.

  • 137

    Number of buses with charging ports to be progressively introduced from October.

They will run from the Woodlands temporary bus interchange, as well as the Bukit Batok and Choa Chu Kang interchanges.

The 10 Man A95 double-deckers will each have 41 charging ports spread out across both decks.

The ports will be located near the inner seats of each row to encourage commuters to take these seats.

Commuters will have to use their own charging cables.

An additional 137 buses with USB charging ports will be progressively introduced by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) from October.

Though the charging ports will be powered by the buses' batteries, the LTA assured The Straits Times that this will not affect their performance.

"The addition of USB charging ports to buses will not affect the overall operations of the buses and commuters will not incur any additional cost for the use of the ports," said a spokesman for the authority.

USB charging ports were first proposed as part of an array of additions to public buses at the LTA's Bus Carnival in March.

Feedback sought on the features garnered 22,000 responses, with 72 per cent indicating an interest in having charging ports on buses.

LTA public transport group director Yeo Teck Guan said: "The introduction of the USB charging ports to new public buses is part of the review and upgrade in the design of public buses in Singapore."

He added that other features in public buses in the future could include information display panels and foldable seats.

SMRT Buses managing director Tan Kian Heong said the move complemented the transport operator's efforts to "integrate mobile technology and enhance connectivity" on its buses, following a trial introduction of free Wi-Fi on its buses in April.

Commuters, however, were sceptical about the usefulness of these ports.

"USB charging on buses seems frivolous. Do we really need it?" said 34-year-old aircraft engineer Boestaman Elias.

Desktop systems specialist Azmi Maniku, 33, also felt that the charging ports were an unnecessary addition to public buses.

"Everyone has a battery pack now," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 01, 2016, with the headline 'USB charging ports on 10 new SMRT buses'. Print Edition | Subscribe