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    Apr 15, 2014

    Buses arrive faster, less packed

    THE frequency of buses has improved by one to five minutes on average, and they are less congested now, said the Land Transport Authority (LTA) yesterday.

    In an update on the ongoing Bus Service Enhancement Programme - rolled out in 2012 - the LTA said that 339 of 550 state-funded buses have been put on the road as of last month.

    These new buses have been used to improve 125 bus services and introduce 18 new routes islandwide.

    Parliamentary Secretary for Transport Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim said the programme has "helped to reduce the crowded situation in some of the buses, and reduce waiting time for commuters at the same time".

    In the first quarter of this year, additional buses were added to 25 bus services with heavy ridership during peak hours.

    The LTA cited how service 195, run by SBS Transit, now arrives at bus stops every eight to 12 minutes during the morning peak period, compared to 10-13 minutes previously.

    It has also tapped on private bus operators to boost the network, with seven express bus services - named City Direct - launched.

    Yesterday, the first privately run feeder bus service began plying in Woodlands. The "peak-period short service" 912P will overlay the busiest stretches of feeder route 912 to reduce waiting times and ease congestion.

    It is operated by BT&Tan Transport and Commute Solutions, which will run 11 trips each during the morning and evening peak hours.

    Three more of such services will be introduced - in Ang Mo Kio, Bedok and Boon Lay - in the next three weeks.

    The LTA said another bus route will be extended in the second quarter of this year to serve Kallang residents, and that details will be provided later.

    Last month, Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew announced that his ministry would fund and roll out another 450 buses by 2017.

    Associate Professor Faishal said he is confident that this will translate into a "significant improvement" in bus services over the next few years.

    Separately, falling ridership has prompted SMRT to end its seven Night Rider services more than two hours earlier from April 30, and to run them only one way.

    The seven services will run from 11.30pm till 2am on Friday and Saturday nights, instead of 4.30am previously. They will operate in only one direction - from the city instead of in a loop.