SMRT Corporation Ltd.

Two more new routes by September 2013

Press Release   •   Jun 27, 2013 14:16 SGT

Improvements to 18 bus services in second quarter 2013

Less crowding, shorter waits and better connectivity

27 June 2013 - 1. By end June 2013, a total of 215 new buses have been added on the roads to improve 101 existing bus services and introduce 12 new bus services under the on-going Bus Service Enhancement Programme (BSEP). Between April and June 2013, 18[1] bus services have been improved to reduce crowding and increase bus frequencies. Two more new bus services will be introduced to enhance connectivity by September this year. These improved bus services will benefit many commuters island-wide. 

Better connectivity with new bus services

2. Two new bus services will be implemented in the third quarter of 2013. One of these will be the Jurong West City Direct bus service that will provide commuters in Jurong West an alternative travel option to the city during the peak periods. The other will be a new feeder service in Woodlands, with details to be provided by the Public Transport Operator (PTO) closer to the implementation date.

Better bus services

3. To reduce crowding and waiting times, additional buses have been added to 18 bus services with heavy ridership during the morning and evening peak periods in the second quarter of 2013. In all, 215 more weekly peak hour bus trips have been added in the second quarter. (Please refer to Annex A for list of these bus services). 

4.  SBS Transit Service 139, for example, now runs at an improved frequency, at intervals of 7 to 10 minutes during the morning peak period, compared to 8 to 12 minutes previously. Similarly, for the evening peak, the intervals have been shortened from 10 to 13 minutes to the current 8 to 13 minutes.  

5. Service 981 operated by SMRT Buses now runs at shorter intervals of 9 to 12 minutes during the morning peak period and 10 to 13 minutes during the evening peak period, as compared to 12 to 15 minutes in the morning, and 18 to 20 minutes in the evening previously.

6. Mr Yeo Teck Guan, the Land Transport Authority’s (LTA) Group Director for Public Transport said, “We are on track to deliver around 280, or more than half of the 550 BSEP buses committed by the Government by end of this year. Commuters can look forward to a better ride as we roll out more buses in the coming quarters. This includes the first City Direct bus service operated by private operator that will be launched in September. To augment the resources of the PTOs, we have also invited private operators to run another 9 new City Direct bus services which will be progressively rolled out from January next year.”

7. SBS Transit CEO, Mr Gan Juay Kiat said, "Since January this year, we have rolled out four new bus services and improved the frequency of 73 bus services. We will continue to do more in the coming months, working closely with the LTA to improve our services. At the same time, we will step up our investments in training so that our expanded workforce is able to deliver quality service to our commuters."

8. Vice-President of SMRT Buses Ltd, Mr Tan Kian Heong said, “We are encouraged by the positive results of the BSEP thus far, and remain committed to raising our service standards to provide a better commuting experience to our passengers. On top of supporting the BSEP, we have also been making several other improvements to raise our service standards. These include progressively renewing and expanding our bus fleet, remaining agile to adjust schedules and routes when demand changes, adding trips to increase passenger capacity, and embarking on specific strategies to enhance the recruitment and development of our bus captains.”

9. In addition, as part of the on-going quarterly bus service review process, the PTOs have also improved 36 bus services[2] by deploying higher capacity buses and/or adding more bus trips along sectors that experience consistent heavy ridership to better match demand and increase frequency/capacity along these sectors. Together, the two operators have added a total of 210 weekly trips during peak hours for these 36 services.

10. Under the BSEP, the Government will partner the bus operators to significantly ramp up bus capacity and service levels by providing funding for 550 buses to reduce crowding and improve frequencies of existing basic bus services, and run about 40 new bus routes. In addition, six more City Direct bus services will be introduced under BSEP, bringing the total number of parallel bus services to 14, from eight previously, with 10 to be operated by private bus operators.

11. The bulk of BSEP enhancements are expected to be completed by end 2014. Together with the 250 buses that the PTOs will add to their fleet at their own cost, these 800 new buses will amount to a 20% increase in bus fleet.

12. With the additional capacity, commuters can expect better service levels. By end 2014, the PTOs will be required to reduce the loading levels for all basic bus services to 85%, down from today’s 95% of their licensed bus capacity.

13. Peak hour frequencies for feeder and trunk bus services will also be improved. Under the BSEP, all services will operate within 20-minute scheduled intervals, with another 10% of services having intervals brought down even further to within 12-minutes. Currently, under the existing Quality of Service (QoS) Standards, all services have to operate within 30-minute scheduled intervals, of which 80% must be within 10-minute scheduled intervals.  

14. LTA has put up nine new City Direct routes for tender by private bus operators in June 2013. These parallel bus services will provide improved connectivity for commuters travelling into the city from areas like Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Bukit Batok, Eunos, Hougang, Jurong East, Sembawang, Sengkang and West Coast. The new bus services will be launched progressively from January 2014 to second quarter 2014.

15. Apart from the City Direct-type of services, LTA will also work with private bus operators to operate shorter services during peak hours, such as localised routes in estates that bring residents to the nearby MRT stations. Such services will serve to complement the existing feeder bus services operated by the PTOs, reducing waiting time and improving reliability of the bus services that connect commuters to key transport nodes. Tenders for these short services will be called in the later half of 2013, with services to be implemented progressively from 2014. Details will be provided when ready.

[1] Bus services enhanced under BSEP in 2Q 2013:

SBS Transit bus services: Services 3, 63, 58, 70, 79, 139 and 196

SMRT bus services: Services 77, 106, 176, 190, 302, 700, 850E, 901, 963, 966 and 981

[2]  SBS Transit bus services improved between April and June 2013 under the quarterly bus service review process: Services 7, 12, 15, 19, 22, 28, 29, 39, 55, 57, 59, 76, 78, 87, 101, 138, 156, 168, 183, 185, 199, 243, 249, 252, 254, 257, 261 and 269

    SMRT bus services improved between April and June 2013 under the quarterly bus service review process:  190, 307, 913, 962, 969, 975, 981 and 971E 

Annex A:  Improvements to bus service levels

Annex B:  Map of BSEP improvements


SMRT Corporation Ltd (SMRT) is Singapore’s premier multi-modal public transport operator. SMRT serves millions of passengers daily by offering a safe, reliable and comprehensive transport network that consists of an extensive MRT and light rail system which connects seamlessly with its island-wide bus and taxi operations. SMRT also markets and leases the commercial and media spaces within its transport network, and offers engineering consultancy and project management as well as operations and maintenance services, locally and internationally.