Bus Contracting Model Improves Bus Journeys for Commuters

News Releases 03 Mar 2017 bus contracting Bus Service Reliability Framework (BSRF)


  • About 60% of bus services are less crowded
  • Average additional wait time reduced by about 15% for 108 services
  • Four new bus services introduced, another 10 by end of 2017

1.  The public bus industry completed its transition to the bus contracting model in September 2016[1]. Under the bus contracting model, LTA determines the bus services to be provided and sets the service standards. This enables bus services to be more responsive to changes in ridership and commuter needs. 

Less crowded buses, more reliable bus services, enhanced connectivity

2.  As a result of the bus contracting model, commuters have been enjoying higher service levels.

3.  All bus services now have scheduled headways of no more than 15 minutes during the morning and evening peak periods, with half or more of them having scheduled headways of no more than 10 minutes. Feeder services are running at even shorter intervals of six to eight minutes.

4.  To achieve this, an additional 86 buses were deployed to improve more than 100 services between September 2016 and January 2017. Compared to the same period a year ago, about 60% of bus services have become less crowded during peak hours.[2] Commuters are enjoying more comfortable rides.

5.  Bus arrivals have also become more regular, with the Bus Service Reliability Framework[3] imposed on bus operators as part of the bus contracting model. For the 108 bus services that are being assessed on Excess Wait Time[4] under the framework since September 2016, average additional wait times have been reduced by around 15% over the past five months. Instances of bus bunching have also decreased. Of 16 bus services which are being assessed on On Time Adherence[5], seven have shown improvement in their punctuality. As the remaining services are gradually being included into the framework, commuters can expect further improvements to bus service reliability.

6.  Since September 2016, four new services have been added to the bus network, with two more to be introduced by March 2017 and another eight by the end of the year. Together, these 14 new bus services will enhance connectivity in areas like Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Bishan, Bukit Batok, Bukit Panjang, Hougang, Punggol, Sembawang, Sengkang, Tampines, Toa Payoh, Tuas, Whampoa and Yishun.[6]

7.  As our rail and bus networks expand and ridership patterns evolve, some bus routes may no longer be as heavily utilised while demands for new routes may emerge. We will continue to review and make adjustments to bus connectivity, in order to appropriately balance the need to optimise resources with commuter needs.

[1] Two bus packages have been awarded to new operators, Tower Transit and Go-Ahead. The remaining 11 bus packages continue to be operated by incumbent operators, SBS Transit and SMRT Buses, and will be tendered out gradually.

[2] Measured here as the proportion of bus services that have seen an improvement in average loading during peak hours between September 2016 and January 2017, compared with the same period a year ago.

[3] The Bus Service Reliability Framework targets to improve bus reliability by reducing instances of bus bunching and prolonged wait time. Bus operators are rewarded with incentives if they improve service reliability, and penalised if there is deterioration in reliability.

[4] Excess Wait Time is the average additional wait time experienced by commuters at bus stops, compared to the scheduled wait time if the buses had arrived at regular intervals. The unique baseline of each bus service is derived from the historical performance. An improvement to the score indicates that the service has, on average, arrived more regularly and had less instances of bus bunching.

[5] On Time Adherence measures the proportion of times that the bus service arrives less than two minutes earlier or less than five minutes later than its scheduled timing. An improvement to the score indicates that the service has been, on average, more punctual.

[6] Services 127, 129, 883 and 973 have already been introduced. Services 374 in Sengkang and 381 in Punggol will be introduced in March 2017.

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