The Land Transport Authority (“LTA”) has awarded the second phase of its on-demand public buses (ODPB) trial to two companies – Ministry of Movement Pte. Ltd, otherwise known as SWAT, and Via Transportation, Inc. – at a total contract sum of S$2.26 million. SWAT has strong local knowledge of operating on-demand bus services in Singapore, while Via has extensive experience in operating on-demand bus services in major metropolitan cities.
2. In the first phase of the trial, SWAT and Via have successfully developed a dynamic routing and matching algorithm. This algorithm has thus far demonstrated that ODPB can optimise limited resources while offering more seamless and convenient bus journeys for commuters in areas or during timings with low or unpredictable ridership. For example, commuters will be able to request for pick-ups and drop-offs at any bus stop within the defined geofence area through a mobile app.
3. The second phase involves the development of hardware and software solutions for the ODPB system. These solutions comprise mobile apps for commuters and bus captains, back-end tools required to monitor services during the trial, as well as operational and maintenance support for the system. Both contractors will train bus captains and support staff to operate the system. Additional simulations will also be conducted to fine-tune the operating parameters and geofence areas of the system.
4. After the system is developed, a six-month operational trial will start with selected services with low travel demand during off-peak hours from December 2018. More details of the operational trial, such as locations and operating hours, will be announced closer to the implementation date. In the lead-up to the operational trial, LTA will work closely with the contractors, bus operators and the community in the trial areas to familiarise residents and commuters with ODPB. During the trial hours, LTA will continue to run selected low-demand bus services with similar connections at lower frequencies, so that commuters who prefer the regular buses still have access to fixed route bus services.