Bus Service Enhancement Programme (BSEP)

The Bus Service Enhancement Programme, or BSEP for short, was launched on 7th March 2012. The Land Transport Authority (LTA), in partnership with Public Transport Operators (PTOs) SBS Transit and SMRT, rolled out new measures to significantly increase bus capacity and bus service levels. The BSEP was a continuation of the Quarterly Review of Bus Services which was initiated in June 2010.

The BSEP covered the purchase of 1000 new buses and 80 new bus services progressively introduced between 2012 and 2017. The first phase of the BSEP (comprising of 550 new buses and 40 new services) was projected to cost $1.1 billion and eventually brought forward to end 2014. Additionally, in March 2014, an expansion of the BSEP was announced, introducing 450 more buses from 2015 to 2017. This brought the total number of government-funded buses to 1,000, and increased available resources for a new total of 80 new services. Most of the 40 expanded BSEP bus routes were feeder or short trunk services to serve developing areas such as Sengkang, Punggol, Yishun and Choa Chu Kang.

With the full implementation of the expanded BSEP in 2017, the total capacity of the bus system increased by about 1,000 buses in just five years since the start of BSEP in 2012. 80 new BSEP bus services were introduced and 218 unique bus routes received improvements. In addition, there was a 95% reduction in bus services which experienced overcrowding during the peak periods. Resources procured under the BSEP were also carried over to the Bus Contracting Model (BCM), which superseded the BSEP as part of the Government’s efforts to restrucure the Singapore bus industry.

Introduction

In summary, the BSEP aimed to cover a few areas to improve the bus system:

  • Better bus services for commuters
  • Better connectivity with new bus services
    Volvo B9TL purchased under BSEP, with Lush Red Livery.
    Volvo B9TL purchased under BSEP, with Bright Red Livery under the “Colour Your Buses” campaign.

1. Purchase of new buses

Under the revised BSEP, the Government provided funding for 550 new buses. Together with the 250 buses that the PTOs added to the fleet at their cos from 2012 to 2017, these 800 new buses amounted to a 20% increase in the public bus fleet. Out of 550 buses, roughly 300 were used to improve existing bus routes, and the remaining 250 used for operating new routes. However, the announcement of the expanded BSEP brought in 450 additional buses for a new total of 1,000 new buses. Buses purchased under the BSEP include Volvo B9TLs and Mercedes-Benz Citaros for SBS Transit, as well as Alexander Dennis Enviro 500 and MAN NL323Fs for SMRT Buses.

2. Improvement of peak hour travel

Under the BSEP, 95% of feeder bus services were to operate at scheduled intervals of 10 minutes or less during the peak periods. The remaining 5% were scheduled to run at 15-minute intervals. This would be sustained over 2 hours during both the morning and evening peak periods. Before the BSEP, only 9 in 10 (90%) of feeder bus services were required to operate at 10 minute scheduled intervals or better, and for only 1 hour during each peak period. The PTOs were also required to improve bus frequencies across the board, i.e. feeders and trunk routes, during the peak periods.

Previously, all services had to operate within 30-minute scheduled intervals, of which 80% must be within 10-minute scheduled intervals. As part of improved BSEP requirements, all services had to operate within 20-minute scheduled intervals, of which 80% must be within 10-minute intervals and another 10% within 12-minute intervals.

In Summary:

Basic Bus Services:

  • Existing QoS: Loading levels within 95% of licensed capacity
  • By end 2014: Loading levels within 85% of licensed capacity
  • Existing QoS: 80% of all basic bus services to run at scheduled intervals of 10 minutes or less during peak periods
  • By end 2014: 90% of all basic bus services to run at scheduled intervals of 12 minutes or less during peak periods,

Feeder Bus Services:

  • Existing QoS: 90% of services to operate at scheduled intervals of 10 minutes or less during peak periods (currently over 1-hour period)
  • By end 2014: 95% of services to operate at scheduled intervals of 10 minutes or less over entire 2-hour peak-hour period

All Bus Services:

  • Existing QoS: maximum 30 minute scheduled intervals during peak hours
  • By end 2014: maximum 20 minute scheduled intervals during peak hours

3. Improvements to Existing Bus Services

The revised BSEP adds part of the 1000 new buses to existing bus services which are in need of capacity upgrades. Most bus routes receive between one and three additional buses. The existing bus services exclude bus services launched under BSEP.

4. New Bus Services

Service 137 was the 78th service introduced under the BSEP
Service 137 was the 78th service introduced under the BSEP

While the focus in the initial years was to improve bus service levels for existing bus services, better connectivity in the bus network was delivered through 80 new bus routes introduced progressively over the next 5 years. This is a 30% increase, up from the 261 basic bus routes before the BSEP was started.

Out of the 80 new bus routes, 22 of these were parallel bus routes that connected major HDB towns to the city area, making use of the expressways. Operating during the peak hours, these City Direct Services provided more options to commuters using stretches of the existing rail lines that experience persistent high ridership, while the ongoing rail enhancement measures are being implemented. In response to demand levels, several of these routes had extra trips added.

Besides improvements to public bus operators, the scheme also extends to private bus operators, as part of efforts to augment the resources of PTOs while excess capacity was slowly being built up. City Direct Services and Peak Period Short Services (PPSS) are among such initiatives and are explained in detail in the relevant articles.

4A. City Direct Services

These express bus routes operate one-way trips between residential estates and the Central Business District (CBD) during weekday peak hours. These services are operated by private bus operators using coaches, which provide commuters with a direct and comfortable bus ride between home and work. With limited stops and the use of expressways, commuters using these services would have comparable journey time to taking a feeder bus service or an LRT service to the nearest MRT station and transferring to the rail network towards the city.

Several City Direct routes were transferred to Public Bus Operators since April 2017, taking over private bus operators upon the expiry of their two-year contract terms.

4B. Peak Period Short Services

These supplementary bus routes duplicated existing feeder bus routes, plying between MRT stations and/or bus interchanges and residential estates. Operated by private bus operators, they were introduced to alleviate crowding, reduce waiting times and improve reliability during peak hours. Upon the expiry of their contracts, all Peak Period Short Services were integrated with the incumbent PTOs routes, replaced by either Short Trip Services or additional trips operated by the parent feeder service.


5. BSEP Buses

Mercedes-Benz Citaro purchased under BSEP. Painted in Lush Green livery for the "Color Your Buses" campaign.
Mercedes-Benz Citaro purchased under BSEP. Painted in Lush Green livery for the “Color Your Buses” campaign.

Buses acquired under the BSEP scheme have special registration numbers to distinguish them from the non-BSEP buses of similar models. They have similar specifications, however, BSEP buses come equipped with passenger counters among other equipment, and can be directly monitored by LTA.

In preparation for the transition to the Bus Contracting Model (BCM), from late 2015 onwards, most BSEP Buses have been registered under the “SG” prefix. This is due to the BCM also comprising of BSEP buses.


6. Timeline of BSEP introduction:

  • 07 Mar 2012: The BSEP scheme is announced
  • Jul – Sep 2012: PTOs add 190 more weekly trips for 30 services during peak hours
  • 21 Oct 2012: First BSEP bus route launched (Service 860)
  • Mar 2014: Expansion of BSEP announced
  • 09 Dec 2017: Last BSEP route launched (Service 71)

For intermediate dates (e.g. contract awards for City Direct and Peak Period Short Service routes), check the individual articles for more information.

7. Chronology of BSEP introduction:

Do note that new bus services (including City Direct services) and route extension to existing bus services count as BSEP services. Services not under the BSEP tally are supplementary services, such as Peak Period Short Services and others which duplicate sections of trunk routes.

S/N Date Service
 1 21 Oct 2012 SMRT Bus Service 860
 2 21 Oct 2012 SBS Transit Bus Service 119 (Route Extension)
 3 18 Nov 2012 SBS Transit Bus Service 116
 4 16 Dec 2012 SBS Transit Bus Service 50
 5 17 Dec 2012 SBS Transit Express Service 513
 6 18 Feb 2013 SMRT Express Service 850E
 7 17 Mar 2013 SBS Transit Bus Service 4
 8 18 Mar 2013 SMRT Express Service 982E
 9 21 Apr 2013 SBS Transit Bus Service 120
 10 09 Jun 2013 SBS Transit Bus Service 20
 11 09 Jun 2013 SBS Transit Bus Service 141
 12 17 Jun 2013 SMRT Express Service 951E
 13 18 Aug 2013 SMRT Feeder Bus Service 904
 14 02 Sep 2013 City Direct Service 651
 15 15 Nov 2013 SMRT Bus Service 972
 16 14 Dec 2013 SBS Transit Bus Service 49
 17 06 Jan 2014 City Direct Service 652
 18 13 Jan 2014 City Direct Service 653
 19 19 Jan 2014 SBS Transit Feeder Bus Service 371
 20 20 Jan 2014 City Direct Service 654
 21 16 Feb 2014 SMRT Feeder Bus Service 803
 22 17 Feb 2014 City Direct Service 655
 23 17 Feb 2014 City Direct Service 656
 24 24 Feb 2014 City Direct Service 657
 25 16 Mar 2014 SBS Transit Bus Service 121
14 Apr 2014 Peak Period Short Service 912P
22 Apr 2014 Peak Period Short Service 240P
29 Apr 2014 Peak Period Short Service 222P
06 May 2014 Peak Period Short Service 268P
18 May 2014 SBS Transit Bus Service 143M
26 19 May 2014 City Direct Service 658
27 08 Jun 2014 SBS Transit Bus Service 11 (Route Extension)
28 09 Jun 2014 City Direct Service 659
10 Jun 2014 Peak Period Short Service 358P
10 Jun 2014 Peak Period Short Service 359P
29 23 Jun 2014 City Direct Service 660
24 Jun 2014 Peak Period Short Service 291P
24 Jun 2014 Peak Period Short Service 293P
30 Jun 2014 Peak Period Short Service 307P
13 Jul 2014 SBS Transit Bus Service 63M (Extension of Ops Hours)
30 17 Aug 2014 SBS Transit Bus Service 386
17 Aug 2014 SMRT Bus Service 859A/B (Supplementary Routes)
24 Aug 2014 SBS Transit Bus Service 123M (Route Extension)
31 12 Sep 2014 SBS Transit Bus Service 324
12 Sep 2014 SBS Transit Bus Service 139M (Supplementary Route)
09 Nov 2014 SBS Transit Bus Service 49 (3 Additional Bus Stops)
 32 15 Nov 2014 SMRT Bus Service 990
16 Nov 2014 SBS Transit Bus Service 17A (Extension of Ops Hours)
16 Nov 2014 SBS Transit Bus Service 43M (Supplementary Route)
 33 23 Nov 2014 SBS Transit Bus Service 201
 34 14 Dec 2014 SBS Transit Bus Service 41
 35 14 Dec 2014 SBS Transit Bus Service 140
 36 15 Dec 2014 SBS Transit Bus Service 35 (Route Extension)
 –  30 Dec 2014 Peak Period Short Service 285P
 –  06 Jan 2015 Peak Period Short Service 265P
 –  13 Jan 2015 Peak Period Short Service 903P
 –  20 Jan 2015 Peak Period Short Service 811P
 –  20 Jan 2015 Peak Period Short Service 812P
 37  14 Feb 2015 SBS Transit Feeder Bus Service 386 (Route Extension)
 38  15 Mar 2015 SBS Transit Bus Service 122
 39  25 Apr 2015 SMRT Feeder Bus Service 301
 40  25 Apr 2015 SMRT Bus Service 983
 –  27 Apr 2015 SMRT Express Service 982E (Route Extension)
 41 14 Jun 2015 SBS Transit Bus Service 103 (Route Extension)
 – 14 Jun 2015 SMRT Bus Service 972 (Route Amendment)
 – 16 Aug 2015 SBS Transit Bus Service 53M (Supplementary Route)
 – 17 Aug 2015 Peak Period Short Service 291P (Change In Ops Hours)
 – 17 Aug 2015 Peak Period Short Service 293P (Change In Ops Hours)
 42 20 Sep 2015 SBS Transit Bus Service 102
 43 22 Sep 2015 City Direct Service 661
 44 22 Sep 2015 City Direct Service 662
  – 28 Sep 2015 SMRT Express Service 850E (Route Amendment)
 45 28 Sep 2015 City Direct Service 663
 46 06 Oct 2015 City Direct Service 664
 – 12 Oct 2015 SMRT Express Service 951E (Route Amendment)
 47 12 Oct 2015 City Direct Service 665
 48 21 Nov 2015 SBS Transit Bus Service 258
 49 22 Nov 2015 SBS Transit Bus Service 49 (Route Extension)
 50 20 Dec 2015 SBS Transit Bus Service 47
 51 20 Dec 2015 SBS Transit Bus Service 117
 52 20 Dec 2015 SBS Transit Bus Service 118
 53 27 Dec 2015 SMRT Bus Service 979
 54 27 Dec 2015 SMRT Bus Service 983 (Route Extension)
 55 03 Jan 2016 SBS Transit Bus Service 382G/W
 – 03 Jan 2016 SMRT Feeder Bus Service 301 (2 Additional Bus Stops)
 – 18 Jan 2016 Peak Period Short Service 222P (Change In Ops Hours)
 56 14 Feb 2016 SMRT Feeder Bus Service 805
 57 29 Feb 2016 City Direct Service 666
 58 08 Mar 2016 City Direct Service 667
 59 15 Mar 2016 City Direct Service 668
 60 20 Mar 2016 SBS Transit Bus Service 134
 61 20 Mar 2016 SBS Transit Bus Service 150
 62 22 Mar 2016 City Direct Service 669
 63 29 Mar 2016 City Direct Service 670
 – 24 Apr 2016 SBS Transit Bus Service 117 (Route Amendment)
 – 24 Apr 2016 SBS Transit Bus Service 386 (Route Extension)
 – 24 Apr 2016 SMRT Bus Service 979M (Temporary Supplementary Route)
 64 15 May 2016 SMRT Feeder Bus Service 308
 65 12 Jun 2016 SBS Transit Bus Service 46
 66 17 Oct 2016 City Direct Service 671
 67 23 Oct 2016 SMRT Bus Service 883
 68 07 Nov 2016 City Direct Service 672
 69 18 Dec 2016 SBS Transit Bus Service 127
 70 18 Dec 2016 SBS Transit Bus Service 129
 71 12 Mar 2017 SBS Transit Bus Service 374
 72 12 Mar 2017 Go-Ahead Feeder Bus Service 381
 73 18 Jun 2017 SBS Transit Bus Service 247
 74 18 Jun 2017 SBS Transit Bus Service 248
 75 09 Jul 2017 SBS Transit Feeder Bus Service 329
 76 27 Aug 2017 SMRT Feeder Bus Service 944
 77 15 Oct 2017 SMRT Feeder Bus Service 807
78 21 Oct 2017 SBS Transit Bus Service 137
79 21 Oct 2017 SBS Transit Bus Service 298
80 09 Dec 2017 SBS Transit Bus Service 71

8. BSEP Bus Hangers:

To promote amendments to bus services, the Land Transport Authority printed BSEP Bus Hangers and distributed them to various bus services plying in the vicinity of the area benefited by the new BSEP Bus Service. This would later be discontinued.

Promotional BSEP Hanger for Service 119
Promotional BSEP Hanger for Service 119

9. Gallery:

Do check out our other bus articles by clicking here.

3 thoughts on “Bus Service Enhancement Programme (BSEP)

  • 25 April 2018 at 2:22 PM
    Permalink

    Staying in Pasir Ris Elias, going to work at 33 Tuas bay drive
    any solution for me? thank if there is.

    Reply
  • 14 December 2017 at 12:24 AM
    Permalink

    Which SG plated buses are BSEP buses? I cant figure out which buses make up to the magic figure of 1000 BSEP buses

    Reply
  • 14 September 2017 at 6:04 PM
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    What time does the 7.50am bus reach anson road?

    Reply

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