SINGAPORE - Double-decker buses, with three sets of doors instead of the usual two, will be deployed over the course of the year, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said on Monday (Jan 11).
A total of 100 of these buses, costing the authority some $64 million, will begin plying Singapore's roads, some as early as the end of this month.
They will have two staircases leading to the upper deck instead of the usual one. LTA said this should improve commuter flow with those boarding using the staircase nearer the front and those alighting using the second staircase.
Those boarding the bus should continue to use the first door, but the additional exit door will allow commuters at the back of the bus to alight without having to make their way to the middle, LTA added.
This should reduce time buses spend at bus stops while passengers board and alight and encourage more commuters to move to the rear.
The additional staircase has led to some changes in the orientation of seats in the upper deck. Three seats, facing the right side of the bus, offer a panoramic view of the bus journey.
The deployment of the three-door buses follows a successful trial in 2017 and 2018, during which Tower Transit and SMRT both operated the three-door buses to positive feedback from commuters, who said it made boarding and alighting easier and faster.
A tender was then called by the LTA and awarded to ST Engineering Land Systems and Alexander Dennis Services in 2019, with each supplying LTA with 50 buses.
ST Engineering's buses will be progressively deployed from the end of January, while the buses from Alexander Dennis Services are expected to be deployed from the second quarter of this year.
The buses are equipped with new features LTA has incorporated in all newer buses, such as a passenger information display system to provide commuters with real-time information like upcoming bus stops and nearby MRT and LRT lines.
The centre pole at the front door has also been removed to make boarding easier for parents with strollers, while a ramp can be deployed from the middle door of the bus to make it more convenient for wheelchair users to get on and off.
The buses have a seating capacity of 17 on the lower deck and 50 on the upper deck, as well as standing capacity of 56. The changes in configuration mean a 10 per cent reduction in passenger capacity from the usual capacity of a two-door, double-decker bus.
For a start, the new buses will be used by service 334 operated by Tower Transit Singapore, with the rest of the routes to be determined.
The 100 buses will be the final batch of diesel public buses to ply Singapore's roads as they were bought before LTA's commitment to buy only buses that run on cleaner energy.
Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Transport Chee Hong Tat said LTA intends to uphold its pledge to have all 5,800 of its public buses run on cleaner energy by 2040.
He said the authority will work with manufacturers on future three-door buses so that they can be more environmentally friendly when the current 100 diesel buses need to be replaced.
The longer bendy buses, which make up about 1 per cent of the current fleet, also have three doors. Over the years, these have been gradually phased out due to their longer turning radius.