Quality of Service (QoS) Standards

Quality of Service Standards, or QoS for short, establishes basic bus service standards to safeguard commuters’ interest in terms of bus service provision. QoS is managed by the Public Transport Council (PTC), an independent body that regulates bus services, bus service operators, ticket payment services, and bus and rapid transit system fares.

Currently, the QoS standards for basic bus services comprise of two categories:

  • Operating Performance Standards (OPS) easure minimum daily or monthly operational deliverables, either at the bus network or route levels. They cover the aspects of bus reliability, loading and safety; and
  • Service Provision Standards (SPS) measure overall bus route planning and provision of services. They cover the aspects of service availability, integration and information.

In 1994, the PTC first introduced a comprehensive set of bus service guidelines to regulate the performance of basic bus service operators. Following a review in 2006, the PTC introduced a more stringent set of QoS standards to improve the travel experience of commuters and after a trial period, two standards were further tightened as follows:

Effective August 2007, timetables should be displayed at bus stops for bus services with long headway i.e. more than 20% of the bus trips having frequencies of 20 minutes or more.

Effective August 2009, at least 80% of bus services should operate at frequencies of not more than 10 minutes during weekday peak periods.

As part of the Land Transport Master Plan to improve the connectivity of feeder connections to the public transport hubs, the PTC also initiated a new standard in August 2008, requiring operators to run at least 85% of their feeder bus services at frequencies of not more than 10 minutes during weekday peak periods. This was raised to at least 90% one year later in August 2009.

The QoS results are released on a six-monthly basis, beginning from April 2008.

Revised Financial Penalties

With effect from 1 Apr 2013, the PTC significantly enhanced the financial penalty quantum following its review to communicate that it takes a serious view of non-compliance with the QoS standards, and expects the public bus operators to keep service lapses to the minimum.

The penalty quantum will be increased and range from $2,000 per day per bus service to $100,000 per month per standard. Both the old and new financial penalties can be found below.

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Operating Performance Standards (OPS)

1. Reliability
1.1  Scheduled bus trips operated on each bus service At least 96% monthly.
1.2  Bus service should adhere to not more than 5 minutes of its scheduled headway (frequency) upon departure at the bus interchanges and terminals Not less than 85% daily.
1.3  Bus breakdown rate on all bus services Less than 1.5% monthly.
2. Loading
2.1  Bus loading during weekday peak periods on each bus service Not exceeding 95% daily.
3. Safety
3.1  Accident rate on all bus services Less than 0.75 per 100,000 bus-km per month.

Financial Penalty for Non-Compliance:

  • 1.1 Percentage of scheduled trips operated
    Current: $1,000 per month on each non-compliant route.
    Revised: $20,000 per month on each non-compliant route.
  • 1.2 Headway adherence and 2.1 Bus loading
    Current: $100 for each non-compliant day on each non-compliant route.
    Revised: $2,000 for each non-compliant day on each non-compliant route.
  • 1.3 Bus Breakdown Rate and 3.1 Accident Rate
    Current: $10,000 per month on each non-compliant standard.
    Revised: $100,000 per month on each non-compliant standard.

Revised financial penalties come into effect from 1 Apr 2013. The PTC Act stipulates that all such sums collected by the PTC shall go into the government’s Consolidated Fund.

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Service Provision Standards (SPS)

4. Availability
4.1  Access to any bus service To run at least one bus service within 400m radius of any development subject to minimum demand.
4.2  Provision of direct bus service connections To run direct bus services:

  • Between a HDB neighbourhood and a nearby bus interchange or MRT station.
  • Between major employment/ activity centres and a nearby bus interchange or MRT station.
  • Between HDB towns and the Central Business District, and Jurong Industrial Estate.

The minimum requirements for direct bus connections as stated in 4.1 and 4.2 above are subject to minimum demand and may not be applicable where there are available MRT/NEL/LRT services.

4.3  Bus service operating hours At least 18 hours daily, unless otherwise stipulated by the PTC.
4.4  Bus service scheduled headways (frequencies)
  • At least 80% of bus services to operate at headway* of not more than 10 minutes during weekday (excluding public holidays) peak periods, unless otherwise stipulated by the PTC.
  • At least 90% of feeder bus services to operate at headway* of not more than 10 minutes during weekday (excluding public holidays) peak periods, unless otherwise stipulated by the PTC.
  • At least 85% of bus services to operate at headway of not more than 20 minutes during off-peak periods, unless otherwise stipulated by the PTC.
  • 100% of bus services to operate at headway of not more than 30 minutes, unless otherwise stipulated by the PTC.
Note * Scheduled headway applies to bus services departing from bus interchanges and terminals in the peak directions during weekday peak periods
5. Integration
5.1 Bus service integration in HDB Towns
  • At least one bus service to depart from the bus interchange/terminal at 6.00 am or earlier, daily.
  • At least one bus service to depart from the bus interchange/terminal at 12 midnight or after the last train service, whichever is later, daily.
6. Information
6.1 Availability of up-to-date information
  • To provide hotline and information on internet website for convenient trip planning.
  • To display information at all bus interchanges/ terminals with passenger boarding activities.
  • To display information at all bus stops with display facilities.
  • To provide timetables at bus stops for bus services with long headway (i.e. headway of 20 minutes or more, for more than 20% of the bus trips).

Financial Penalty for Non-Compliance:

  • ALL SPS Standards
    Current: $10,000 per month on each non-compliant standard.
    Revised: $100,000 per month on each non-compliant standard.

Revised financial penalties come into effect from 1 Apr 2013. The PTC Act stipulates that all such sums collected by the PTC shall go into the government’s Consolidated Fund.

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Timeline:

December 2007 – May 2008:
Penalty framework introduced. SBS Transit fined $9,300, SMRT Buses fined $1,000. More details here.

June 2008 – November 2008
SBS Transit fined $4,500, SMRT Buses fined $100. More details here.

December 2008 – May 2009
SBS Transit fined $500, SMRT Buses fined $200. More details here.

June 2009 – November 2009
SMRT Buses fined $100. More details here.

December 2009 – May 2010
SMRT Buses fined $300. More details here.

June 2010 – November 2010
No fines issued. More details here.

December 2010 – May 2011
SBS Transit fined $700, SMRT Buses fined $300. More details here.

June 2011 – November 2011
SBS Transit fined $400, SMRT Buses fined $800. More details here.

December 2011 – May 2012

  • SBS Transit: Fully complied with all standards
  • SMRT Buses:
    • Failure to adhere to maximum passenger loading in 1 instance.
    • Financial penalty of S$100 based on the previous financial penalty quantum of $100 for each non-compliant day on each non-compliant route.

June 2012 – November 2012

  • SBS Transit: Fully complied with all standards
  • SMRT Buses:
    • Failure to adhere to scheduled headway in 15 instances,
    • Failure to adhere to maximum passenger loading in 2 instances.
    • Financial penalty of S$1,700 based on the previous financial penalty quantum of $100 for each non-compliant day on each non-compliant route.
    • At least 13 instances of failure to adhere to scheduled headway attributed to SMRT bus drivers’ labor strike in November 2012

December 2012 – May 2013
SBS Transit and SMRT fully complied with all standards.

June 2013 – November 2013
SBS Transit and SMRT fully complied with all standards.

December 2013 – May 2014
SBS Transit and SMRT fully complied with all standards.

June 2014 – November 2014
SBS Transit and SMRT fully complied with all standards.

December 2014 – May 2015
SBS Transit and SMRT fully complied with all standards.

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That’s all for now. Do check out our other bus articles by clicking here.

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