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 yesterday.
A total of 100 of these buses - which cost 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 the time buses spend at bus stops when passengers board and alight, and encourage more to move to the rear.
The additional staircase has led to some changes in the orientation of seats on 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 operators Tower Transit Singapore and SMRT both ran 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 (Singapore) Services in 2019, with each company supplying LTA with 50 buses.
ST Engineering's buses will be progressively deployed from the end of this month, while the buses from Alexander Dennis 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.
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 a 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. The three-door buses will also be 0.5m longer.
Routes the buses will ply are still being determined, although as a start, they will be used on Service 334, operated by Tower Transit.
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 buses that run only 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 added that 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.