Bus services more reliable and less crowded now: LTA

Passengers ride a single-deck bus service 106, operated by Tower Transit between Bukit Batok and Shenton Way.
Passengers ride a single-deck bus service 106, operated by Tower Transit between Bukit Batok and Shenton Way.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

SINGAPORE - The shift to a new bus contracting model since September last year (2016) has led to more reliable and less crowded bus services, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said in a statement on Monday (Sep 4).

About three quarters of bus services have become less crowded during peak hours between then and July this year (2017), compared with the same period a year earlier, it added, with 96 more buses deployed to improve 114 services.

All bus services now have scheduled intervals of no more than 15 minutes during peak hours. More than half of them have scheduled intervals of no more than 10 minutes. Feeder services are also running at shorter intervals of six to eight minutes.

Under the bus contracting model, the Government owns all operating assets, such as buses and infrastructure, and bears the revenue risks. Bus routes are split into packages and tendered out to operators to run for a fee.

Tower Transit Singapore and Go-Ahead Singapore are the first two foreign bus companies to join the industry, which also includes SBS Transit and SMRT Buses, under this model.

SBS Transit was awarded the package for routes in Seletar in April, and will operate from the new Seletar bus depot by the first quarter of 2018. The Bukit Merah bus package is under evaluation and will be implemented by the end of 2018.

The Government will be pumping in close to $4 billion over the next five years to enhance bus services, added LTA.

All bus services are now expected to meet the Bus Service Reliability Framework, which rewards operators with incentives if service reliability is improved, up from 108 services in March this year (2017).

The average additional wait time for 292 high frequency bus services has reduced by 25 per cent from last September till July this year (2017), while the wait time for 49 out of 73 low frequency bus services have shown improvement in punctuality over the same period.