6,000 trips using on-demand public buses made in first two months of trial

The BusNow app developed by local firm Ministry of Movement to book rides in the Marina Downtown area has been downloaded about 11,000 times.
The BusNow app developed by local firm Ministry of Movement to book rides in the Marina Downtown area has been downloaded about 11,000 times.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - About 6,000 trips were taken with on-demand public bus services in the first seven weeks of a six-month trial, the Land Transport Authority said on Tuesday (Feb 26).

The trial - which began in December and runs until June 15 - allows commuters to request pick-ups and drop-offs at any bus stop within the Joo Koon and Marina Downtown areas through two mobile apps.

The BusNow app developed by local firm Ministry of Movement to book rides in the Marina Downtown area has been downloaded about 11,000 times.

It can also be used to book late-night buses between the Central Business District and the Bedok and Tampines towns.

The other app - BusGo - was developed by United States-based Via Transportation for booking buses in Joo Koon. It has been downloaded about 9,000 times.

Though commuters The Straits Times spoke to in December were generally positive about their experience, the BusNow app reported a disruption of about five hours last Wednesday (Feb 20) due to "technical issues".

The LTA did not give more information on popular routes or ride duration, noting that the trial is only two months along.

 
 
 

"We will continue to tweak the system in response to commuters' travel demand," said an LTA spokesman.

Commuters have made a number of suggestions, such as increasing the number of passengers for group booking, which is now capped at five.

"We will take them into consideration as part of our review of the trial," the LTA noted, adding that it encouraged users to submit feedback through the app.

On-demand buses have been implemented in a number of countries with varying results.

US firm Chariot, which began offering services in San Francisco in 2014 and was acquired by auto giant Ford for a reported $89 million two years later, shut down last month, citing sluggish ridership.