Channel NewsAsia

SMRT to launch double-deckers for 10 bus services

A total of 201 new double-deckers will be phased in over the next 3 months, with the first buses entering service from July 13.

SINGAPORE: Commuters on board bus service 972 will soon have a roomier ride, with three new double-decker buses plying the route from Sunday (July 13).

The three buses will be the first of 201 double-deckers bought by SMRT to be deployed.

In the next three months, more double-deckers will be introduced to nine other bus services — 106, 188, 190, 850E, 951E, 960, 963, 966 and 969 — that ply longer and heavily used routes, said SMRT in a press release yesterday.

The deployment follows road tests, tree pruning and personnel training. The double-deckers are expected to ease crowding during peak hours, particularly on longer routes with high passenger loads.

On Sunday (July 6), Bukit Panjang grassroots leaders were given a preview of the buses, with Bukit Panjang Memberof Parliament Teo Ho Pin and about 80 grassroots members given a brief introduction to the bus, which sports wheelchair-friendly features, safety mechanisms and greater capacity.

The double-decker buses are part of the 573 buses to be added by 2016, a move that SMRT announced in April to increase capacity on longer routes and renew its fleet. Together with the double-deckers, SMRT will add 332 12m buses and 40 bendy buses.

Of the 573 buses, 218 are funded by the S$1.1 billion Bus Service Enhancement Programme, which was started by the Government in 2012 to improve bus services.

SMRT currently has 1,200 buses in its fleet and employs 2,500 drivers. The transport operator in April declined to comment on TODAY’s queries about the number of buses being replaced, the cost of the new buses and whether the cost would be passed on to commuters.

Tweet photos, videos and updates on this story to  @channelnewsasia