SINGAPORE - Transport giant ComfortDelGro has rolled out an on-demand bus service, just weeks after the Land Transport Authority (LTA) shelved plans for such a scheme.
The listed bus and rail operator said on Wednesday (Sept 4) that its ComfortConnect service has been available to residents in Tanjong Rhu and Meyer Road since Aug 15.
The service operates from Monday to Friday between 10am and 4pm, and serves a total of 16 physical/virtual stops, including the majority of the condominiums in the Tanjong Rhu/Meyer Road area, Parkway Parade, the Singapore Swimming Club and Dunman High School.
The company said no fares are collected during the trial, which will last for three months.
It added that it has similar on-demand bus services in Australia.
To book a ride on the new service, passengers have to download ComfortDelGro's ComfortConnect app, which is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play store.
They can then select a stop as a pick-up point and another as a drop-off point, as well as indicate the date and time of pick-up before booking the ride.
They will receive an in-app notification once the ride is confirmed, and another notification at least two minutes before the bus arrives.
The bus will complete the ride even if there is only a single booking.
ComfortDelGro Bus chief executive Pang Weng Heng said: "ComfortDelGro Bus has been providing direct as well as first- and last-mile shuttle services to and from residential areas where public transport coverage is less extensive.
"We believe that on-demand services have the potential to supplement conventional public transport services. Through this trial, we hope to gauge the commercial viability of on-demand services, which will help us plan for new services in the future."
In June, the LTA said it would not continue with an on-demand bus service after a six-month trial in the Joo Koon and Marina-Downtown areas.
It said the trial revealed that these buses were costlier to run than regular fixed-route buses.
That same month, ComfortDelGro announced that it was investing in high-tech ventures through its new US$100 million ($139 million) corporate venture capital fund ComfortDelGro Ventures.
Among the first investments was in home-grown Swat, a company owned by engineering and transport giant Goldbell. Swat ran one of the six-month on-demand bus trials here.