Friday, April 24, 2009

Commuters have to accept transfers

Many commuters said that they like to have direct bus services, instead of making transfers. This preference has its drawbacks.

Singapore has more than 100 direct bus services, but it does not produce an efficient system, leading to the following:
a)  Late arrival of buses
b)  Overcrowding
c)  Bunching of buses

A more efficient system is one that make use of transfers. Each town (e.g. Toa Payoh) should be served by a local bus (maybe using small buses) that carry the people within the town to the bus interchange, MRT station or town center. Those who need to travel long distance can take the intertown bus or MRT.

Here are the attractions of a local bus service:
a) Waiting time for a bus should be less than 5 minutes
b) More stops are available within 150 meters of one's home
c)  Can be managed by individual operators, similar to the taxi system
d) More buses are put into operation during peak hours

Here are the advantages of inter-town buses:
a)  Each passenger can have a seat
b)  There are few stops, reducing the travel time

People are used to transfers when they take an earoplane or MRT. The same concept should be applied to the bus services. If commuers accept this idea, the public bus services can be improved tremendously to support the MRT service.


  1. One point to add is: there in imbalance in loading factor in direct bus services. The popular bus services are always crowded. Also less popular bus services are not filled and thus the waiting time is longer. For example, inevitably, commuter making a bus transfer has to wait longer for the less popular service, since their schedules are not optimised.

    Generally, we can accept transfer if there is no increased fare and reasonably slight increase in journey time. To make this possible, LTA should quickly roll out their plan of charging commuters distance-based fare instead of the current situation (Why the long wait now?). Also allow more private operators to join in.

  2. If the commuter has to make transfers, wouldn't that increase the total journey time?

  3. Hi Chienwei

    Using a system of transfers, the travel time should be shorter. The feeder bus can appear in less than 1 minutes.

    The inter-town bus makes a few stops only at the major interchange and will save on the journey time considerably.

    Hi Ma Ree
    I hope that the total cost can be kept the same, with the use of transfers.

    Some commuters are willing to pay more, if the waiting time is reduced and they have more comfort.

  4. "Journey time" should include the waiting time - this is the main problem that has never been resolved by the bus companies.


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