SINGAPORE - The number of private buses ferrying workers to Little India will be halved this Sunday, and they will stop operating two hours earlier.
These changes will limit the number of workers travelling to Little India, as the one-week suspension on the 25 private bus services is lifted.
Previously, 250 to 280 buses would ferry about 20,000 to 23,000 workers to Little India every Sunday. The scheduled services ran from 2pm to 11pm.
From this Sunday, they will run from 2pm to 9pm.
The changes are not permanent, Mr Yeo Teck Guan, the Land Transport Authority's (LTA) group director for public transport, said on Wednesday.
He said: "We want to reduce the congestion that is caused, and reduce the inconvenience that is caused to residents."
The fewer buses will allow the LTA and bus associations to fine- tune the services to reduce traffic congestion, he said.
The LTA is also looking into how to maintain a smooth traffic flow by, among other measures, improving boarding and alighting points and making it more convenient for workers to queue while waiting for buses, Mr Yeo said.
The two bus associations that run the Little India services - the Singapore School Transport Association (SSTA) and the Singapore School and Private Hire Bus Owners' Association - cheered the lifting of the suspension, and hoped the number of buses would be raised over time.
Said the latter's president Neo Tiam Beng: "I had feared they would suspend the services for a few months. Now, I can tell my members we can at least run 50 per cent of the buses."
Still, he expects workers to stay away this Sunday.
"This is a sensitive period. The demand will not be high. They have to regain confidence, which will take time," said Mr Neo.