- POSTED: 06 Jan 2014 10:27
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Starting this June, bus operators SBS Transit and SMRT will be rewarded for arriving at bus stops on schedule. They will also be penalised if their buses do not run on time.
SINGAPORE: Starting this June, bus operators SBS Transit and SMRT will be rewarded for arriving at bus stops on schedule.
They will also be penalised if their buses do not run on time.
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) plans to introduce a two-year trial for this carrot-and-stick scheme, called the Bus Service Reliability Framework - similar to a system adopted in London.
With the help of GPS technology, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) will track bus arrival times at selected bus stops.
Bus operators will then be given an average score based on this data, which will determine how much they receive in rewards or penalties.
A total of 22 bus services will be involved in the pilot scheme.
The services will be monitored and compared to an established baseline of estimated waiting times, which is derived from historical performances.
This will determine the monthly incentive amount, which goes up to a maximum of S$6,000, or penalty amount, which can go up to S$4,000.
LTA said the new Bus Service Reliability Framework, previously known as the Quality Incentive Framework, should help to reduce waiting times, and ensure regular intervals between buses.
Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew said: “It's to try and resolve some of these bus-bunching issues where you may have two buses coming together, and then a long wait if you miss those two buses.
"We're trying to work with operators to make sure that they can time their buses to come at more regular intervals. They need to put more manpower at the back end, monitor it more closely at their ops centre and give direct instructions to the bus driver so that they can better space out the arrivals of the buses."
However, transport analyst Terence Fan pointed out a loophole in the system. Operators could simply state a longer journey time, so buses are seen to be punctual.
But moving forward, Dr Fan said that the reliability framework could work well with a tender system, like the one in London.
He said: “In London, the bus routes operate on a tender process, which means that the operators have to bid for the route for only a number of years. If they don't perform well, they could lose the right to operate the route. This really gives the operator a higher, longer-term incentive to be punctual."
The LTA has already tried this business model on a smaller scale, by awarding contracts to private operators for the new City Direct Bus Services.