Less crowding, shorter waiting time, more new routes
1. As announced by the Minister for Transport, LTA will partner the bus operators, SBS Transit Ltd and SMRT Buses Ltd, to roll out the Bus Services Enhancement Programme (BSEP) from the third quarter of 2012.
2. 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. Together with the 250 buses that the PTOs will add to their fleet at their cost, over the next 5 years, these 800 new buses will amount to a 20% increase in bus fleet. The capacity injection will be front-loaded with about 70% added within the first 3 years.
Better bus services for commuters
3. Commuters can expect more frequent, more reliable and less crowded buses under the BSEP as these buses are progressively injected over the next 5 years. With this additional capacity, the bus operators will be required to deliver higher service levels than is currently required by the Public Transport Council's (PTC) existing Quality of Service Standards.
4. Over the next 5 years, about 300 of the 550 buses funded with Government assistance will be deployed to reduce crowding and improve bus frequencies of existing basic bus services. The remaining 250 buses will be used to run new bus routes.
5. By end 2014, commuters can expect about 10% more capacity on buses along crowded stretches of bus routes during peak hours, as 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 capacity1.
6. Peak hour frequencies for feeders will also be improved. Feeders play an important role in our hub-and-spoke integrated public transport model. Under the BSEP, 95% of feeder bus services will run at scheduled intervals of 10 minutes or less during the peak periods. The remaining 5% will be scheduled to run within 15 minute intervals. This will be sustained over 2 hours during both the morning and evening peak periods. Currently, only 9 in 10 (90%) of feeder bus services are required to operate at 10 minute scheduled intervals or better, and for only 1 hour during each peak period.
7. The PTOs will also have to improve bus frequencies across the board, i.e. feeders and trunk routes, during the peak periods. Today, all services must operate within 30-minute scheduled intervals, of which 80% must be within 10-min scheduled intervals. Under the BSEP, all services must operate within 20-minute scheduled intervals, of which 80% must be within 10-minute intervals and another 10% within 12-minute intervals.
Better connectivity with new bus services
9. While the focus in the initial years will be to improve bus service levels for existing bus services, commuters can also expect better connectivity in the bus network with around 40 new bus routes introduced progressively over the next 5 years. This is a 15% increase, up from the 261 basic bus routes today.
10. Out of the 40 new bus routes, about 8 will be parallel bus routes that connect major HDB towns to the city area, making use of the expressways. Six of the eight parallel bus routes will connect from Choa Chu Kang, Jurong, Sengkang, Tampines, Woodlands and Yishun. The remaining two routes are still being worked out and will be announced when ready. The new parallel bus routes will be progressively introduced from the third quarter of 2012 to provide more options to commuters using stretches of the existing rail lines that experience persistent high ridership, while the ongoing rail enhancement measures are being implemented. LTA will monitor the performance of these parallel bus services closely and make adjustments where required. Details of these routes will be provided when ready.
11. More buses will also be added to improve bus connectivity at the local level. LTA is presently studying the implementation of the new routes in detail. We recognise that different communities have different needs for bus services, and will therefore carefully assess and prioritise the different needs to deliver maximum benefit to commuters from the resources available. LTA will work closely with community leaders on this in the next few months.
1 The number of passengers that each bus is licensed to carry.