Four new bus services by March

Four new bus services by March

SINGAPORE - Residents in Choa Chu Kang, Punggol and Queenstown will be the next to benefit from an ongoing programme to improve bus services, with four new routes to be introduced in these areas.

The details of the services are being worked out, but they will be launched by March, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said yesterday. This will make it a total of 40 new and extended bus services to have been introduced under the billion-dollar Bus Service Enhancement Programme (BSEP).

"First announced in 2012, the BSEP has helped reduce crowding, improve bus frequencies and provide better connectivity for commuters," the LTA said.

Updating the programme's progress in the quarter ending last month, the LTA also said that 38 additional buses have been injected into 34 bus services during the morning and evening peak hours.

This has amounted to 480 weekly peak-hour bus trips being added, reducing waiting times.

For example, commuters in Bedok who take SBS Transit's feeder Service 225 now wait only five to six minutes during the morning rush hour, down from between five and nine minutes previously.

During the evening peak hours, Service 225 runs at intervals of between four and seven minutes.

Over the last quarter, 10 "peak-period short services", which take commuters to nearby bus interchanges or MRT stations, have also been introduced in estates including Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Boon Lay and Clementi.

Separately, SBS Transit and SMRT have also improved on 12 busy services by deploying buses with larger capacities or adding more trips. In the last quarter, the operators have added a combined 35 weekly trips for such services during peak hours.

In the future, the BSEP will focus on improving the frequency of feeder services and increasing connections with new routes.

As announced earlier, around eight out of 10 feeder bus services will receive new buses, and 40 more new routes will be added. To achieve this, 450 more government-funded buses will be put on the roads by 2017, bringing the total to 1,000.

Transport operators will also have to deliver higher service standards.

While 95 per cent of feeder services are currently required to operate at 10-minute intervals during morning and evening peak periods, this will be tightened by 2017, when all feeder services must operate at intervals of no longer than eight minutes.

Consultant Benjamin Tan, 33, who takes Service 158 regularly, now waits less than 10 minutes, compared with 25 minutes previously, and uses an app to check arrival times.

"I always use it to check how long it takes for the next bus to arrive so that I can plan my schedule accordingly... so it's a 'shorter' wait," he said.

adrianl@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on January 6, 2015.
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