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LTA seeks industry proposals to develop on-demand public bus services

Transport bus 18866379.jpg
The land transport sector - which covers taxis, transport bookings apps, public buses and the MRT system - scored 67.8 points, an increase of 0.99 point over the same period last year.

THE Land Transport Authority (LTA) on Tuesday called a tender to seek proposals from the industry to trial on-demand, dynamically-routed public bus services that optimise their routes and schedules based on real-time commuter demand.

The trial will enable the LTA to evaluate the feasibility of operating public bus services based on real-time commuter demand and along dynamic routes, instead of plying on the basis of predetermined and fixed timetables and routes.

Through a mobile application, commuters will be able to request pick-ups and drop-offs at any bus stop within a defined operating area. The objective is to deliver better and more customised bus services, with possibly shorter wait time.

Instead of being able to alight only at a bus stop along a predetermined, fixed route, they can ask to alight at any bus stop in the operating area, making the commute more seamless and convenient.

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The trial will help the LTA assess if such a form of public bus services could optimise resources such as buses and bus captains, and operating cost in areas and periods with low ridership.

Three areas have been preliminarily identified as possible for the trial: Joo Koon (for Services 253, 255 and 257), Punggol North/West (for Services 84 and 382) and Shenton Way/Marina South (for Services 400 and 402).

These bus services in the identified areas have low demand during off-peak hours and can potentially better serve commuters if they are converted into on-demand bus services, the LTA said.

It also invited tender participants to submit proposals for on-demand, dynamically-routed night bus services, in place of existing night bus services with fixed timetables and routes.

The tender consists of two phases. In the first phase, to be awarded by Q4 2017, the successful tenderer(s) will conduct modelling and simulation to test service quality and resource requirements. This will help the LTA determine the parameters for the actual trial.

In the second phase, to be awarded in Q2 2018, incumbent public bus operators will test and calibrate software and hardware solutions provided by the successful tenderer(s) before trialling actual on-demand, dynamically-routed bus services in the second half of 2018.

In the lead-up to the actual trial, the LTA will work with bus operators and communities to educate and help commuters in the trial areas on how to use such bus services.

The LTA said that it will continue to run the usual scheduled bus services at reduced frequency, to cater to those commuters who are not able to adapt to this new form of bus services.