Joint News Release by the Land Transport Authority, SBST & SMRT - 5 New Routes by March 2013, Improvements to 28 Bus Services in Fourth Quarter 2012; Better Connectivity, Shorter Waits, Less Crowding

News Releases
6 Dec 2012

1.        In total, 28 bus services1 will be improved and 5 new bus services will be introduced between October and December 2012 under the Bus Service Enhancement Programme (BSEP). By end of 2012, a total of 89 new BSEP buses will be on the road2. Another 3 new bus services will be introduced in the first quarter of 2013. These improved bus services will benefit many commuters as they are geographically spread island wide.

Better connectivity with new bus services

2.        Commuters can expect better connectivity with more new bus services rolled-out under BSEP. To date, three of the five new bus services planned for the fourth quarter of 2012 – Services 119, 860 and 116 - were introduced in October and November. The other two new bus services – new Service 50 and new Express Bus Service 513 - will start on 16 and 17 December 2012 respectively.

3.        From 16 December 2012, the new bus Service 50 operated by SBS Transit, will enhance connectivity for commuters along Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5, Yio Chu Kang Road, Sengkang West Avenue, Sengkang East Way and Punggol Drive.  The new bus route will provide commuters with convenient access to key transport nodes and amenities, such as MRT stations, town centres, schools including the new ITE College Central along Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5, and the Sengkang Sports and Recreation Centre along Sengkang West. The service will operate daily at a frequency of 10 to 15 minutes from Bishan and 10 to 19 minutes from Punggol. (Please refer to Annex A for the route map of Service 50)

4.        From 17 December 2012, commuters travelling between Tampines West and the Central Business District (CBD) during weekday peak periods (excluding public holidays) will be served by a new Express Service 513. The new service, operated by SBS Transit, will provide an alternative for Tampines West commuters travelling to the CBD. With limited stops and the use of the East Coast Parkway (ECP), the journey time is expected to be comparable to taking a feeder service and transferring to a train into the city. The new express service will operate two trips on weekday mornings at 7.30am and 7.45am from Tampines Avenue 5 towards Shenton Way. In the evening peak hours, the service will operate two return trips from Anson Road towards Tampines Avenue 5 at 6.15pm and 6.30pm. (Please refer to Annex B for the route map of Service 513)

5.        The three new bus services for the first quarter of 2013 will be progressively introduced from January 2013. These new routes will improve the connectivity in Changi North, Choa Chu Kang, Tampines, and Yishun. Details of these new routes are being worked out and the Public Transport Operators (PTOs) will provide more information closer to implementation dates.

6.        In addition, a new trunk service will be introduced by SBS Transit at its own cost as part of the on-going network improvement. The new bus route will improve the connectivity in Tampines, Simei and Changi Business Park. The route is being worked out and is targeted for implementation in the first quarter of 2013. More information will be provided closer to implementation. The bus fleet for this service will be from the 250 buses that PTOs will add to their fleet at their cost within 5 years.

Better bus services

7.        New BSEP buses will be introduced to 28 bus services with heavy ridership during the morning and evening peak periods in the fourth quarter of 2012. This will add 445 more weekly bus trips. Commuters on these services will have more frequent, more reliable and less crowded buses. (Please refer to Annex C for list of these bus services). 

8.        Service 284 operated by SBS Transit, for example, will run at a frequency of 4 to 8 minutes during morning/evening peak periods instead of 6 to 14 minutes currently.

9.        Service 962 operated by SMRT Buses now runs at higher frequencies of 4 to 8 minutes during morning peak period and 8 to 9 minutes during evening peak periods, from 4 to 9 minutes in the morning, and 10 minutes in the evenings previously.

10.      Mr Chua Chong Kheng, Land Transport Authority’s (LTA) Deputy Chief Executive said, “These improvements are geographically spread to benefit as many commuters as possible and aim to make meaningful enhancements to bus service levels. We will continue to work closely with the bus operators to inject the buses progressively over the next 5 years.”

11.      SBS Transit CEO, Mr Gan Juay Kiat said, “SBS Transit CEO, Mr Gan Juay Kiat said, “We have made improvements to more than 50 services this year as part of our on-going regular review and will continue to work closely with the LTA under the BSEP to develop and improve our service network to ensure better rides for all.”

12.      SMRT spokesperson said: “We are gearing up both our people and fleet to better serve the needs of our customers and to meet the increase in demand for more and better bus services.  The latest round of improvements will see more new buses added to our fleet. This will not only provide our customers with shorter waiting times and greater comfort, but also enhance our customers’ overall travelling experience.”

13.      In addition, as part of the on-going quarterly bus service review process, PTOs have also improved bus services3 by deploying higher capacity buses and/or adding more bus trips along sectors that experience consistent heavy ridership to better match demand and to increase frequency/capacity along these sectors. Together, the two operators have added a total of 185 more weekly trips during peak hours for 30 services.

14.      Under the BSEP, the Government will partner the bus operators to significantly ramp up bus capacity and current bus service levels by providing funding for 550 buses. Over the next 5 years, the buses funded with Government assistance will be deployed to reduce crowding and improve bus frequencies of existing basic bus services, and run about 40 new bus routes. Together with the 250 buses that PTOs will add to their fleet at their cost, over the next 5 years, these 800 new buses will amount to a 20% increase in bus fleet. 

15.      With the additional capacity, commuters can expect better service levels. By end of 2014, the PTOs will be required to reduce the loading levels for all basic bus services to 85%, down from today’s 95% of their licensed capacity.

16.      Peak hour frequencies for feeder and trunk bus services will also be improved. Under the BSEP, all services will operate within 20-minute scheduled intervals, with another 10% of services having intervals brought down even further to within 12 minutes. Currently, under the existing quality of service standards, all services have to operate within 30-minute scheduled intervals, of which 80% must be within 10-min scheduled intervals. 

Annex A :   New Bus Service 50
Annex B :   New Express Bus Service 513
Annex C :   Improvements to bus service levels
Annex D :   Map of BSEP improvements

1 Bus services enhanced under BSEP in fourth quarter 2012:
•  SBS Transit bus services: 2, 8, 21, 29, 48, 57, 60, 79, 86, 87, 147, 168, 228, 229, 238, 246. 262, 273, 284,  315,  317, 325, 333 and 335
•  SMRT bus services: 77, 962, 963 and 969

2 The breakdown of the new BSEP buses is as follows:
•   28 new BSEP buses for improvements to 26 bus services in Q3 2012
•   31 new BSEP buses for improvements to 28 bus services in Q4 2012
•   30 new BSEP buses deployed on the 5 new BSEP bus services introduced in Q4 2012

3 SBS Transit bus services improved between October and December 2012 under the quarterly bus service review process: 5, 7, 19, 25, 36, 39, 45, 76, 88, 90, 94, 95, 109, 145, 154, 161, 185, 198, 225, 240 and 334.

SMRT bus services improved between October and December 2012 under the quarterly bus service review process: 178, 811, 852, 854, 856, 859, 961, 966 and 971E