Billion-dollar bus programme to expand public fleet enters its final phase

Early morning commuters at Woodlands bus interchange boarding feeder service 964 on July 3, 2015.
Early morning commuters at Woodlands bus interchange boarding feeder service 964 on July 3, 2015. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The billion-dollar Bus Service Enhancement Programme (BSEP) is entering its final stretch, with 820 government-funded buses now on the road as of September.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) gave this update on Friday (Oct 14), saying that 60 per cent of the 296 existing bus services have seen their capacity increased, under BSEP.

This means either more buses are plying those routes, or that there are more double-deck buses on those routes.

Started in 2012, BSEP was a project to expand the public bus fleet by about 35 per cent, in order to reduce wait times and congestion. The goal was for 1,000 government-funded buses to hit the roads at the end of five years.

The programme will be completed next year.

The LTA said 14 bus services now suffer from persistent peak-period crowding, down from the 96 identified in September 2012.

A bus is considered to be "crowded" when bus loading, including standing and seated passengers, exceeds 85 per cent.

Some 65 new routes have also been introduced under BSEP, with more planned in the programme's final year, said the LTA.

These include the 20 City Direct Services, which ply one-way express routes from housing estates to the city. These services make two one-way trips each way on weekday morning and evening peak periods, excluding public holidays.

Two more of such services will be rolled out over the next two months.

The LTA also said a new service, 883, between Sembawang and Yishun will be introduced on Oct 23 to serve new housing developments in Canberra.

"More new bus services will also be implemented to further enhance connectivity in areas like Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Hougang, Sengkang, Tampines, Toa Payoh, Tuas, Whampoa and Yishun," said an LTA spokesman in a media release, adding that details will be revealed at a later stage.

Said LTA's chief executive Chew Men Leong: "The improvements that have been made under BSEP are encouraging and we look forward to continuing this upward trend as we work with all four public transport operators to ensure commuters get to enjoy smoother, more frequent bus services under the bus contracting model."