The six-month On-Demand Public Bus (ODPB) trial, launched on 17 December 2018, will end on 15 June 2019. Following the trial, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) will optimise regular bus services in Joo Koon and Marina-Downtown to serve commuters more efficiently.
2. The ODPB trial was designed to study the feasibility of dynamically-routed public bus services based on real-time commuter demand. At the same time, this has allowed LTA to evaluate the resource requirements and commuter receptivity to the concept. The trial was conducted during off-peak hours in three areas, namely Joo Koon, Marina-Downtown, and CBD to Bedok/Tampines (for the Night ODPB service).
3. The trial has provided insights into commuter receptivity and the operational feasibility of the ODPB concept:
- Commuter reactions to ODPB were mixed. Some commuters were prepared to try the new service, with more than 26,000 rides booked and taken to date. According to an LTA passenger survey, around half of those who were aware of ODPB had tried it. However, there was also a significant group of commuters who were either not aware of ODPB or chose not to try it. Those who chose not to try ODPB said they were uncomfortable with using a mobile application to book a bus ride and felt that regular bus services provided greater certainty.
- Mileage savings were observed during the ODPB trial but it is currently less cost effective for ODPB to be scaled up due to high technology costs. Compared to fixed and scheduled bus services, operated mileage in the same area was 18% lower during the ODPB trial. This means less bus resources were required. However, ODPB is currently less cost effective compared to regular bus services due to high software development costs. Larger-scale deployment of ODPB is expected to become more cost effective in the future when the efficiency of algorithms improves and technology enables the deployment of unmanned vehicles.
4. The six-month trial has provided insights into the feasibility of the ODPB concept, which will help LTA better understand demand-responsive services and prepare for other trials in future, including the pilot deployment of on-demand, dynamically-routed autonomous vehicles in the early 2020s, as we continue to enhance public transport towards the “20-minute towns” vision in the Land Transport Master Plan 2040.
Optimisation of Regular Bus Services Following Conclusion of ODPB Trial
5. Joo Koon: From 17 June 2019, Services 253, 255 and 257 will revert to the original scheduled intervals before the ODPB trial.
6. Marina-Downtown: From 16 June 2019, Services 400 and 402, which are low-demand services with substantial overlap, will be merged into a single Service 400 with scheduled interval of 20 minutes. Ridership of both services remained low before and during the trial. All bus stops covered by the two original services will continue to be served by the merged Service 400, which will also provide more direct journeys for key destinations in the area, such as Gardens by the Bay, Marina Barrage, Marina South Pier and Marina Bay Cruise Centre.
7. NightRider NR7: NR7 has been suspended since start of Night ODPB trial on 4 January, and will be discontinued from 16 June 2019. During the ODPB trial, it was observed that many NR7 riders who chose not to try the ODPB had switched to alternatives such as Nite Owl 2N and 4N, which similarly connect the CBD to Bedok, Tampines and Pasir Ris. With the withdrawal of NightRider NR7, affected commuters can continue to rely on these alternative travel options.