THE billion-dollar Bus Service Enhancement Programme (BSEP) has made inroads into stepping up service delivery, despite being only halfway through.
Of the 1,000 buses slated to be added to the fleet by 2017, more than half, or 510, are already on the roads, said Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew yesterday.
Thirty-three new bus services have also been added so far under the Government's programme, which was started in 2012 in response to soaring ridership.
"With the BSEP, waiting times for commuters have been shortened by three to seven minutes on the more popular services," said Mr Lui.
"We were also able to reduce the number of bus services that were persistently crowded during peak hours by 60 per cent."
Mr Lui was speaking at the opening of the new Bedok integrated transport hub - Singapore's largest bus interchange and the seventh such hub alongside those in Toa Payoh, Sengkang, Ang Mo Kio, Boon Lay, Serangoon and Clementi.
The 1.6ha air-conditioned hub, which took just under three years to build at a cost of $23 million, is expected to benefit about 40,000 commuters daily, said the Land Transport Authority. Linked to Bedok Mall and Bedok MRT station, the hub is served by shops, eateries and 29 bus services - twice the number at a typical interchange.
It is also the first interchange to incorporate energy-saving features such as LED lighting for the driveway and bus park areas, earning a Green Mark Platinum Award from the Building and Construction Authority.
Another three integrated transport hubs are under construction in Joo Koon, Bukit Panjang and Yishun, and are scheduled to be completed next year, in 2016 and 2018 respectively.
Mr Lui said that such hubs and the BSEP both aim to improve the travel experience for commuters.
Full-time national serviceman and Bedok North resident Teo Wei Shen, 21, agreed. He said one of the 33 new services, City Direct service 659, saves him time when he travels home from the Central Business District. "It used to take me about 45 minutes, but now it's only half an hour."
But cleaner Hadijah Ali, 48, who lives in Chai Chee Road and takes feeder service 229 every day, said the waiting time during non-peak periods is "still very long" and can go up to 25 minutes.
"Hopefully something can be done about that," she said.
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