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Two new peak-period bus services for Tampines

291P and 293P, run by private operators, ply routes concurrently with feeder bus services 291 and 293 during peak hours.

SINGAPORE: Two short bus services have been launched in Tampines to ease the overcrowding during peak hours. Members of Parliament for Tampines GRC Mah Bow Tan and Baey Yam Keng were on hand to check out the services on Tuesday (June 24) evening.

Services, 291P and 293P are run by private operators, concurrently with existing feeder bus services 291 and 293. Both 291P and 293P operate from Tampines Bus Interchange on weekday mornings between 6.30am and 8.30am, and weekday evenings between 5.30pm and 7.30pm.

This increases the number of trips during peak hours by 50 per cent. The additional buses add 11 trips for each service in the mornings and evenings, bringing the total number of extra trips to 44.

Commuter Julious Glori told us he was pleasantly surprised by the shorter wait. Another commuter Mary Ruth, said she noticed the bus seemed to come more frequently.

Mr Mah said he has heard of "exceptional" cases in which commuters wait for up to 20 minutes during peak hours.

"But even then, if you have to wait for three, four, five buses, it's very irritating," he said. "So we're trying to resolve this issue, step-by-step. This is the most urgent - 291 and 293 - because of the route and because of some blockages along the way. Streets are narrow, sometimes there is illegal parking, etc. So we started off with these two services. But as we identify more problem areas, we will hopefully be able to add more new services to this area."

Service 293P does not run the entire route of bus service 293. Mr Baey explained that the Land Transport Authority (LTA) has been looking at the data collected as well as feedback from residents and in selecting the particular stretch between Avenue 9 and Street 41 - to have the additional service during morning and evening peak-hours. 

"So even if you look at the additional timings - the evenings peak for 291P and 293P are different. They start and end at different times," noted Mr Baey. "It's based on very concrete data that (LTA) has customised and developed these additional services. But I think we'll continue to monitor the situation and also get feedback from residents and the commuters to see how we can further improve these additional services."

The idea was mooted last year at the Transport Ministry's announcement at the Committee of Supply 2013 to tap on the resources of private bus operators to operate short bus routes to give commuters additional options.

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