3 More New Routes by June 2013 Improvements to 41 Bus Services in First Quarter 2013

News Releases 01 Apr 2013 Bus Service Enhancement Programme (BSEP)

1. Commuters can expect less crowding and better bus frequencies with a total of 41 bus services1 improved between January and March 2013 under the on-going Bus Service Enhancement Programme (BSEP). Commuters will also benefit from greater connectivity with the introduction of 3 more new bus services by June this year.

2. Eight new bus services have already been rolled-out since the launch of BSEP in September last year. By end March 2013, a total of 93 bus services have been improved with 143 new buses added on the road. These improvements have benefitted many commuters as they are geographically spread island wide. 

Better connectivity with new bus services

3. In the second quarter of 2013, three new bus services will be introduced to improve connectivity in areas like Bukit Merah, Novena, Telok Blangah, Toa Payoh and Woodlands. Details of these new routes are being worked out and the Public Transport Operators (PTOs) will provide more information closer to the implementation dates.

Better bus services

4. New buses have been added to 41 bus services with heavy ridership during the morning and evening peak periods in the first quarter of 2013. This adds 460 more weekly bus trips. Commuters on these services now have more frequent and less crowded buses. (Please refer to Annex A for list of these bus services). 

5. SBS Transit Service 354, for example, runs at an improved frequency of 6 to 8 minutes during the morning peak, and 6 to 10 minutes during the evening peak periods. The service previously ran at a frequency of 9 to 18 minutes during the morning peak, and 10 to 14 minutes during the evening peak.

6. Service 925 operated by SMRT Buses now runs at higher frequency of 5 to 13 minutes during the morning peak period and 8 to 12 minutes during the evening peak period, as compared to 6 to 14 minutes in the morning, and 8 to 16 minutes in the evening previously.

7. Mr Chua Chong Kheng, the Land Transport Authority’s (LTA) Deputy Chief Executive said, “We have made good progress on the BSEP with more than 140 new buses added on the road since September last year. In order that more commuters can benefit, we are accelerating the BSEP implementation programme. By the end of this year, another 190 new buses will be on the road.”

8. SBS Transit CEO, Mr Gan Juay Kiat said, "SBS Transit is fully committed to working with the LTA to roll out the BSEP to make our commuters' travelling experience better. In line with this, we continue to step up efforts in increasing the number of Bus Captains being recruited not only in Singapore but also in Malaysia while ensuring that our new buses are delivered on time. To cater for this increase, we have expanded our Bus Captains' training facilities as well as increased our pool of driving instructors so that we are able to maximise the number of Bus Captains we can train at any one time. We will continue to do more.”

9. Vice President of SMRT Buses Ltd, Mr Tan Kian Heong said, “SMRT is supporting the acceleration of BSEP by investing and building its own resources. As part of our fleet renewal and expansion plans, we have purchased 200 MAN A22 buses and 40 Mercedes-Benz Citaro O530 buses. More than half of these buses have been delivered. We also need to ensure that we build our pool of Bus Captains. Our recruitment efforts have been beefed up with better starting salaries and career development programmes. While we expand, we need to ensure that the quality of service delivery is maintained and improved. The performance based wage structure that we are launching in April 2013 will drive better reliability of service and a customer-focused culture among Bus Captains. We are confident that these initiatives complement LTA’s efforts to make bus services more reliable and the experience more pleasant for commuters.”

10. In addition, as part of the on-going quarterly bus service review process, PTOs have also improved 26 bus services  by deploying higher capacity buses and/or adding more bus trips along sectors that the buses experience consistent heavy ridership to better match demand and increase frequency/capacity along these sectors. Together, the two operators have added a total of 480 weekly trips during peak hours for these 26 services2.

11. 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 to reduce crowding and improve bus frequencies of existing basic bus services, and run about 40 new bus routes, of which eight are parallel services. The bulk of BSEP enhancements are expected to be completed by end 2014. Together with the 250 buses that the PTOs will add to their fleet at their own cost, these 800 new buses will amount to a 20% increase in bus fleet by 2016.

12.  With the additional capacity, commuters can expect better service levels. By end 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 bus capacity.

13. 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 (QoS) Standards, all services have to operate within 30-minute scheduled intervals, of which 80% must be within 10-minute scheduled intervals. 

14. In addition, LTA will put up six more new City Direct routes for tender by private bus operators. These parallel services are meant to provide city-bound commuters in HDB towns who travel along stretches of existing rail lines that experience persistent high ridership, with an alternative travel option to get to the city. This will bring the total number of parallel bus services up from eight previously announced under BSEP to 14, with nine to be operated by private operators. Tenders for these new City Direct services would be progressively called for from the third quarter of 2013 and launched from early 2014. Details of these routes, including the towns they will serve, are being worked out, and will be shared when ready. 

15. Apart from the City Direct-type of services, LTA will also work with private bus operators to run shorter services during peak hours, such as localised routes in estates that bring residents to MRT stations. Such services will serve to complement the existing bus feeders run by the PTOs, reducing waiting time and improving reliability of buses connecting commuters to the transport hub. Tenders for these short working trips will be called for in the latter half of 2013, with services to be implemented progressively from 2014. Details will be provided when ready.

16. On top of the existing QoS standards, LTA will also introduce the Quality Incentive Framework to improve the regularity of bus waiting times for commuters. Under this framework, operators will need to enhance their en-route management of bus operations to earn incentives and avoid penalties. Operators will be assessed on how they have fared in improving bus service regularity before any incentives and penalties are applied. LTA aims to trial this scheme on 25 services, or about 10% of bus services towards end 2013. Details of the framework will be shared when ready.

Annex A:  Improvements to bus service levels
Annex B:  Map of BSEP improvements

[1] Bus services enhanced under BSEP in 1Q 2013: 

  • SBS Transit bus services: 6, 10, 12, 13, 15, 22, 23, 25, 31, 34, 45, 52, 53, 76, 90, 99, 100, 103, 123, 154, 155, 158, 162, 175, 182, 243, 251, 275 and 354
  • SMRT bus services: 67, 75, 106, 169, 178, 188, 190, 857, 900, 925, 965 and 966.

[2] SBS Transit bus services improved between January and March 2013 under the quarterly bus service review process: 29, 39, 59, 72, 78, 88, 98, 159, 192, 241 and 254.

SMRT bus services improved between January and March 2013 under the quarterly bus service review process: 61, 106, 167, 300, 302, 800, 854, 856, 858, 900, 901, 903, 960, 963 and 969.



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