Go-Ahead First Day of Operations

Punggol Interchange under Go-Ahead
Punggol Interchange under Go-Ahead

Go-Ahead commenced bus operations in Singapore today (Sunday, 4 September 2016) as the fourth public bus operator. The UK multi-modal passenger transport operator took over 14 bus routes, as well as operations of Punggol Bus Interchange, from the incumbent SBS Transit.

Staff worked overnight at Punggol Bus Interchange to ensure a smooth transition, with Go-Ahead Singapore moving into existing SBS Transit offices at Punggol and the setting up of new fixtures within the bus interchange. At 5.15am, the first Go-Ahead bus (SG1011A) departed from Punggol on Service 82, marking the start of revenue service operations.

This is the first tranche of bus service handovers under the Loyang Bus Package.


Bus Services

Service Destination 1 Destination 2 Type Description
3 Tampines Punggol Trunk
34 Punggol ↺ Changi Airport Trunk
43 Punggol Upper East Coast Trunk
43M Punggol ↺ Serangoon Trunk BSEP Supplementary
62 Punggol ↺ Sims Ave Trunk
82 Punggol ↺ Serangoon Central Trunk
83 Punggol ↺ Sengkang Trunk
84 Punggol ↺ Punggol Rd (End) Trunk
85 Punggol Yishun Trunk
118 Punggol Changi Business Park Trunk BSEP
119 Punggol ↺ Hougang St 21 Trunk
136 Punggol Ang Mo Kio Trunk
382G/W Punggol ↺ Sumang Walk Feeder BSEP
386 Punggol ↺ Punggol East Feeder BSEP

Bus Fleet

Go-Ahead’s Day 1 fleet comprises Volvo B9TL double-deck buses, along with Mercedes-Benz Citaro single-deck buses.

Volvo B9TL buses, built to SBS Transit interior specifications, can be seen operating on authorized double-deck services in a mix of LTA’s Lush Green livery, SBS Transit base livery, and Go-Ahead full-body recruitment advertisements. A portion of these buses are new, and the rest are second-hand, having previously been in revenue service with SBS Transit. Small Go-Ahead stickers were pasted onto freshly-transferred buses with SBS Transit base livery, although a small number of them were operating without those stickers.

Mercedes-Benz Citaro buses are also built to SBS Transit interior specifications. They bear a mix of LTA’s Lush Green livery, SBS Transit base livery, and Go-Ahead full-body recruitment advertisements. These buses are registered from SG1001D onwards. A portion of these buses are new, and the rest are second-hand, having previously been in revenue service with SBS Transit. Small Go-Ahead stickers were pasted onto freshly-transferred buses with SBS Transit base livery.

Similar to Bulim Bus Package operator Tower Transit, Go-Ahead buses use bright green Loose wheel nut indicators which are used to identify wheel nuts which require tightening. All buses are equipped with the Trapeze Common Fleet Monitoring System (CFMS) which conveys live information to the Bus Operations Control Centre (BOCC) such as vehicle location and headway between front and rear buses, enabling BOCC controllers to better monitor service performance and make adjustments if necessary. Bus announcements compatible with the Trapeze system have been switched off.

Thermal tickets issued upon cash payment feature the Singapore public transport logo in blue, standardized across all public buses since 1 September 2016.

Go-Ahead Staff

Go-Ahead employees comprise a mix of existing SBS Transit & SMRT staff along with newcomers. They have been employed since late 2015 and have underwent months of training prior to the launch day. Go-Ahead staff based in Punggol Interchange assumed their roles, while supervisory staff and Senior management were present to oversee operations.

Punggol Interchange

The interchange office at Punggol Bus Interchange was refurbished beforehand leading up to the transition day. SBS Transit moved its office to shipping containers located at the far end of the concourse. As the toilets were still undergoing renovation works, portable toilets were at the corner of the interchange, located near the SBS Transit container offices.

SBS Transit’s own LCD bus departure timing screens have also been retained, with the LTA logo in place of the SBS Transit logo. Go-Ahead has also replaced the information boards with that of their own design, and installed its own guide rack.

Go-Ahead Guide Rack and Information Boards at Punggol Interchange
Go-Ahead Guide Rack and Information Boards at Punggol Interchange

First Day Observations

Due to bus allocation issues, several bus services encountered multiple instances of prolonged headways. Of note is Service 34, which was reported to be severely under-operated in the early hours.

Service guides, in the form of conventional-size brochures, were supplied from a guide rack in the interchange concourse. Of note is a Daily Hotline for Enquiries/Feedback (7:30am – 8pm) printed on the guide, and it is believed that the provision of such a hotline was a contractual obligation for Go-Ahead. Operating hours for shortworking trips were also not detailed in the guides.

Go-Ahead also uses the Trapeze Intelligent Bus Management System in a very different way as compared to SBS Transit, SMRT Buses or Tower Transit. The duty The article will be updated in due time, when we have more information.

Bus Stops

As of Day 1, there have been no changes to printed bus stop information at individual bus stops, which still reflect SBS Transit as the service provider. We expect these to be updated in the coming weeks or months. Bus stop poles, where the colored background of individual service numbers reflects the bus operator (red for SBS Transit services) have not yet been changed to the Lush Green background.

Other service hiccups:

  • Missing special departures early in the morning.
  • Long headway records
    • The first bus of Service 34 departed Punggol at 5:30am and the second bus at 6:10am
    • Almost all services encountered instances of very long headways exceeding 40 minutes between buses
  • Bus Drivers getting lost
    • A Service 84 bus went off-route after forgetting to turn left from Punggol Central into Punggol Road (in the direction of Punggol Road End)
  • Incorrect Spelling of P’GOOL on 43M EDS details
  • EDS and CFMS issues
    • Bus Drivers having issues logging into the CFMS system
    • Some buses have EDS and CFMS systems paired, resulting in errors displaying the correct EDS. SBS3304E on Service 83 was operating for much of the day with Go-Ahead company logos on the EDS, rather than route details. Later in the day, the service number ’83’ was written on A4 paper and pasted on the front windscreen
    • Service 136 serves the same bus stop at Serangoon Gardens Circus in different directions; drivers setting the wrong destination on the EDS caused much confusion for commuters. During SBS Transit operations, a Red/White plate would have been used in addition to the EDS to reduce confusion
  • Map and Service Guide errors
    • Incorrect colored lines on Interchange map
    • Service 3: Tampines Stn/Int along Tampines Ave 4 not labelled with station code
    • Service 83: All LRT stations not indicated
    • Service 85: Opp Blk 166A station code mislabeled as PE3 (should be PE4)
    • Service 386: Blk 166A not labelled with PE4
  • SBS3302K with rear SBS Transit logo not removed
  • SG1012Y with full-body commercial advertising
    • Violates LTA regulations on advertising being only able to cover two-thirds of the bus as observed from Tower Transit buses.
Punggol is wrongly shortened to P'GOOL
Punggol is wrongly shortened to P’GOOL

Acronyms used:

  • BOCC: Bus Operations Control Centre, self-explanatory
  • BCM: Bus Contracting Model. LTA-led bus industry restructuring programme shifting to a competitive tendering process to improve bus service standards
  • CFMS: Common Fleet Management System.
  • EDS: Electronic Display Signage. LED displays on buses that display route numbers and details.
  • LTA: Land Transport Authority, statutory board overseeing all public bus operations in Singapore

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