Renewal of bus services needed too

It is heartening to see that the North-East Line is going for a major renewal this year (NEL to undergo major renewal from January; Dec 17, 2018).

The maintenance and upgrading of the MRT lines are critical.

Many Singaporeans depend on the public transport system to travel.

But, we should not forget about the buses.

The bus contracting model was first introduced in 2014 to be more responsive to changes in ridership patterns and commuter needs.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) is the owner of all the bus assets and bus operators are to conform to specific performance standards.

While many indicators such as on-time adherence and waiting times do count as commuters' primary concerns, I hope we are also not forgetting about maintenance and upgrading, especially now that commuters are charged extra to account for a new component called the Network Capacity Factor, which saw bus and train fares for adults rising by six cents per trip from Dec 29.

There are several buses that can be heard from a couple of bus stops away, especially some used for services 51 and 143. These are usually the older buses.

Although the buses do not run very fast, the roar from the engines is tremendously loud.

While a certain amount of noise is tolerable, there should be a check for noise pollution.

Feedback to bus operators is also tedious and not uniform across the different operators. Feedback to LTA will just be channelled back to the operators.

The bus contracting model can be enhanced further to include not just waiting times but also other environmentally linked factors such as noise pollution and carbon emissions.

Feedback channels should also be uniform and centralised.

Desmond Teo

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 02, 2019, with the headline 'Renewal of bus services needed too'. Print Edition | Subscribe