6-month trial of on-demand public buses to start in December: LTA

During the trial, commuters will be able to request for pick-ups and drop-offs at any bus stop within an area through a mobile app. PHOTO: LTA/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - A six-month trial of on-demand public bus services will begin in December, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said on Monday (Aug 27).

During the trial, commuters will be able to request pick-ups and drop-offs at any bus stop within an area through a mobile app.

LTA said the trial "will start with selected services with low travel demand during off-peak hours", adding that details such as locations and operating hours will be announced later.

Regular buses will still be running on the routes selected, but at lower frequencies.

In its statement, LTA said it had awarded a contract worth $2.26 million to two companies, Via Transportation and Ministry of Movement.

This is the second phase of the project, after both firms won the initial tender of nearly half a million dollars in February to develop a dynamic routing and matching algorithm.

LTA said both firms will now develop hardware and software solutions such as mobile apps for commuters and bus captains, back-end tools required to monitor services during the trial, as well as operational and maintenance support for the system.

They will also train bus captains and support staff to operate the system.

According to LTA, the earlier algorithm developed by both firms had demonstrated the system can "optimise limited resources while offering more seamless and convenient bus journeys for commuters in areas or during timings with low or unpredictable ridership".

LTA said Ministry of Movement and Via have proven track records in developing on-demand ride-sharing applications and operating real-time, dynamically routed bus services.

US-based Via Transportation is currently operating on-demand bus services in cities such as Chicago and New York, while Ministry of Movement is a local start-up that commenced operations in Singapore in August 2016.

Globally, on-demand bus services have been implemented in places such as Helsinki in Finland, Chicago, Minnesota, New York and Washington DC in the US as well as New South Wales in Australia.

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