Bus size, frequency based on demand

Media Replies 22 Feb 2013

We refer to the letters from Ong Eng Joo (Use smaller buses on less popular routes) and Teo Yan Ting (Operate new express bus service throughout the day) in the Straits Times on 12 February 2013.

The LTA works closely with bus operators to ensure that the frequency and utilisation of buses matches the demand for the service. In planning the size of buses deployed and its frequency, we use data from the public transport fare system to study the existing travel patterns and demand of commuters. To complement the analysis, field surveys are conducted at public transport nodes to gain a first-hand understanding of the ground situation. We also engaged various stakeholders and the community to gather feedback.

In general, a route with higher ridership demand would have more higher capacity buses such as double deck or bendy buses. Less popular routes may be operated by single deck buses. While smaller buses may lead to some cost savings, it would not be significantly lower as operators need to maintain an additional fleet of small buses on top of the standard buses required for peak hours. In addition, as ridership growth and travel pattern are dynamic, sizing the buses too small may run the risk of buses becoming crowded if there is a surge in demand.

For new routes, the frequency of the service is based on projected demand for the route. In the case of the new Express Service 850E, the service provides commuters using stretches of the existing North South Line that experience persistent high ridership, with an alternative travel option to get to the city. The intent is to start off with a few trips during the peak periods, and further expand the number of trips and operational hours if there is demand. We will closely monitoring the demand and make necessary adjustments to the bus services.

We thank Mr Ong and Mr Teo for their suggestions.

Helen Lim (Ms)
Director, Media Relations & Public Education
Land Transport Authority

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