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    Jun 17, 2014

    Good start for trial to cut bus waiting times

    A TRIAL that employs a carrot-and-stick approach to get buses to run at regular intervals has shown encouraging results so far, said the Land Transport Authority (LTA) yesterday.

    From February to April, the LTA placed seven SMRT services and eight SBS Transit services on the trial.

    Buses arrived slightly more regularly on SBS Transit services 3, 17, 39, 52, 228, 241, 242 and 325, according to figures provided by the LTA.

    Meanwhile, SMRT routes 176, 184, 188 and 858 also showed improvement. But its feeder routes 302, 901 and 911 arrived less regularly in April.

    The LTA introduced a two-year trial of the Bus Service Reliability Framework in February in a bid to reduce bus bunching, where two buses of the same route arrive at a bus stop at the same time.

    This leads to longer waiting times for some commuters as buses do not arrive regularly.

    Under the trial, operators SBS Transit and SMRT are given a baseline excess wait time for selected bus services. The excess wait time is the additional time commuters spend waiting for a bus on average when it does not arrive at its scheduled timing.

    Most services under the trial have shown an improvement in excess wait times, according to LTA figures. For example, service 39 had a baseline excess wait time of 1.2 minutes. This improved to 1.1 minutes in April.

    LTA group director of public transport Yeo Teck Guan said the results of the trial "are encouraging, considering the buses have been placed on the trial for only a very short period".

    "This is a significant change to bus operations, and an important step in improving commuters' travel experience," he said.

    From Monday, another seven bus services - 51, 154, 292 and 354 from SBS Transit as well as 189, 853 and 962 from SMRT - will go under the trial.

    The operators will also be rewarded or penalised for their performance in the trial from this month, based on a six-month average of each route's performance.

    They will receive a $6,000 incentive for every 0.1 minute shaved off a route's excess wait time each month, and a $4,000 penalty for every 0.1 minute added on.