Commuters happier with bus, train services: Survey

Commuters were more satisfied with bus and train services last year than they have ever been since 2011, when massive rail breakdowns weighed on sentiment.

According to the latest annual Public Transport Customer Satisfaction Survey, the satisfaction level inched upwards by 0.5 point to reach 91.8 per cent - the highest since 2010's 92.2 per cent.

It was the second consecutive improvement since the Government pumped in billions to expand the bus fleet, and ramped up a renewal plan for the North-South and East-West MRT lines.

The satisfaction level for bus services improved for the third consecutive year, rising to 90.7 per cent, from 90.2 per cent in 2014.

The most significant improvement was in waiting time, with the satisfaction level rising to 72.4 per cent from 61.8 per cent in 2014. Despite that, waiting time remained the lowest-scoring component of all the bus service attributes. Bus reliability showed the second biggest improvement.

The satisfaction level for the MRT also rose, despite an unprecedented breakdown in July that affected nearly half a million people.

Service information also showed a big improvement.

However, the MRT scored somewhat poorly in absolute terms for crucial components such as reliability and comfort. They stood at 83.7 per cent and 78.9 per cent, respectively. In comparison, buses scored 87.8 per cent for comfort.


I take public transport from time to time, and I think it's quite apparent that it has improved, both in terms of comfort and availability.

MR SITOH YIH PIN, chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Transport.

Overall, public transport commuters were most satisfied with accessibility to bus stops, stations and interchanges. Next came safety and security. A total of 3,843 regular bus and MRT commuters aged 15 years and above were interviewed from Oct 5 to 9 at bus interchanges, bus stops and MRT stations, in and outside the Central Business District. Among them, 67 per cent felt public transport improved last year - up from 60.8 per cent who felt this way in 2014.

Since the first survey in 2006, public transport chalked up its best overall scores in 2009 with 93.8 per cent of the commuters indicating they were satisfied.

The worst year was 2013, when the score dipped to 88.5 per cent.

Bukit Timah resident Anthony Ng, 66, said he notices a "slight" improvement in service standards.

"It is more discernible for buses," the retiree said.

"Service intervals are shorter. But I must say bunching still occurs, and the arrival info is not always accurate."

The chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Transport, Mr Sitoh Yih Pin, said: "I take public transport from time to time, and I think it's quite apparent that it has improved, both in terms of comfort and availability."

Christopher Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 10, 2016, with the headline 'Commuters happier with bus, train services: Survey'. Print Edition | Subscribe