Sep 03, 2013

    $90m spent to improve bus services so far

    MORE than $90 million from a $1.1-billion government programme to improve bus services in Singapore has been spent so far, resulting in shorter waiting times and less crowding for passengers.

    Giving a one-year report on the 10-year Bus Service Enhancement Programme (BSEP) yesterday, Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew said the initiative has brought about "a better commuting experience for everybody".

    Since September last year, 248 new buses have been added to improve 111 existing bus routes and to create 14 new services.

    Noting that BSEP is "not even halfway" through, Mr Lui said another 200 buses will be added by the end of next year.

    Under BSEP, the Government will fund the purchase and running of 550 new buses, while public-transport operators SBS Transit and SMRT will add another 250. This means a 20 per cent increase in Singapore's public bus fleet.

    As of July, transport operators had added 79 buses under BSEP.

    Since the programme was rolled out, buses have been added to about two out of every five bus services.

    Waiting times have been shortened for 34 bus services, too: by more than five minutes for 11 services; by three to five minutes for 13 services; and by one to three minutes for 10 services.

    The number of bus services with persistent crowding during peak hours also fell by about 40 per cent, from 96 to 56.

    Mr Lui said the impact of BSEP will continue to be monitored, to ensure that its "impact is felt appropriately by commuters".

    He added that private operators will be roped in to run direct bus routes between housing estates and the city.

    Yesterday, the first such service - called City Direct - was launched in Jurong West. Another nine services will be rolled out progressively from next year, serving areas such as Eunos and Hougang.