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Bus crowding down 90% in last three years: Lui

Nearly two-thirds of 1,000 extra buses added to public bus network

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Bus crowding - measured by the number of days a service is more than 85 per cent loaded - has fallen over 90 per cent in the last three years.

Singapore

BUS crowding - measured by the number of days a service is more than 85 per cent loaded - has fallen over 90 per cent in the last three years.

Since the S$1.1 billion Bus Service Enhancement Programme (BSEP) started in September 2012, nearly two- thirds of 1,000 government-funded buses have been added to the public bus network.

These have gone towards improving about three in five of the 282 existing bus services and 41 new services, said the Land Transport Authority (LTA), SBS Transit, and SMRT in a joint news release on Friday. The rest of the buses will go into service by 2017.

Visiting the Serangoon Integrated Transport Hub on Friday, outgoing Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew commented that the bus improvement programme has been "very successful" in shortening waiting and travel times.

He particularly highlighted the City Direct services as one of the more successful aspects, noting that these services do not mirror MRT routes. Instead, they use expressways to get from residential estates to the heart of the city, serving as an alternative to trains during peak periods.

"City Direct services actually pick people from where they otherwise would have to take the feeder to the station, and get to the expressways as quickly as possible," Mr Lui said.

Run by private bus operators, the existing City Direct services make up 10 out of the 41 new bus services.

Under the enhancement programme, 14 Peak Period Short Services (PPSS) have been introduced in Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Boon Lay, Pasir Ris, Tampines, Yew Tee, Yishun, West Coast and Woodlands.

These feeder services operate during peak hours on weekdays, overlaying existing services to alleviate crowding at bus interchanges and MRT stations.

Forty-four additional buses have also been deployed to 28 existing bus services during morning and evening peak hours within the past three months.

In total, 775 weekly peak-hour bus trips were added in the period between April and July, said the joint news release.

With about one-third of the enhancement programme left, Mr Lui said that the operators will continue to work hard in the coming months. By the end of August, the number of supplementary bus services plying existing routes in Bedok, Buangkok, Bukit Merah, Hougang, Jurong East, Punggol, Sembawang, St Michael's Estate and Ubi will increase to eight.

Twelve more City Direct services will be added in areas including Marsiling/Woodlands, Tampines East/Simei, Pasir Ris, Yew Tee, and Yishun beginning in September.

Eight more new services will also be implemented to improve connectivity in areas including Bedok, Bukit Panjang, Choa Chu Kang, Hougang, Jurong East, Jurong West, Marine Parade, Punggol, Sembawang, Sengkang, Tampines, and Yishun.

Details of these new bus services are being worked out and will be shared closer to the implementation dates, said the transport operators.