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Bus punctuality scheme unlikely to encourage reckless driving: Lui Tuck Yew

Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew said the Bus Service Reliability Framework that fines operators for late buses is not likely to encourage reckless driving. 

SINGAPORE: Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew said the new trial that fines operators for late buses is not likely to encourage reckless driving.

He said the experience in London, which uses a similar system, has shown that road safety is "manageable".

Starting February 2014, a new government trial will fine operators for late buses and at the same time, offer rewards for buses that run on time.

Mr Lui said this on Tuesday in his Parliamentary reply to several Members of Parliament who raised concerns about the Bus Service Reliability Framework's impact on road safety.

"Wouldn't the bus driver feel pressured and may make reckless decisions?" asked MP for Marine Parade GRC Tin Pei Ling.

MP for Mountbatten GRC Lim Biow Chuan said there will be a certain amount of pressure on the bus drivers to try to adhere to the time limit.

Mr Lui admitted this could be possible but said any additional stress for bus drivers on the road should not be significant.

"The greater pressure comes on the people at the back end because they will have to make decisions on how the buses move, whether they should close the gap, or whether they should inject an additional bus en route because of jams during the mid-stream, and so on," said Mr Lui.

Mr Lui told the House that the safety records of Singapore's two public transport operators have been above government standards, and bus drivers who drive recklessly or flout traffic rules will also be disciplined, or even charged by the Traffic police.

On the system of rewards and penalties, MP for Tampines GRC Baey Yam Keng asked why the incentives are higher than the penalties.

Operators can be fined up to S$4,000 for late services, lower than the maximum incentive of S$6,000 for punctual services.

Mr Lui replied: "There is actually a certain amount of investment the operators have to make in order for this to work. It's not just hoping that conditions will allow your buses to become more regular, or the bus drivers themselves will talk to each other but essentially a system to monitor, to direct, and if necessary to inject additional resources."

Systems aside, Mr Lui said changing road conditions will affect buses, but this is something the operators are expected to factor into their planning.

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