Bus Priority Schemes in Singapore

Bus Priority Schemes help to facilitate the smooth movement of buses. Sharing the same road space with cars, taxis and other vehicles, traffic congestion can affect the travel time and reliability of a bus service, especially in the Central areas where heavy traffic is often encountered.

Many cities implement similar bus priority schemes to help raise the average speed of buses, and decrease the day-to-day variability in travel time. thus improving service reliability for commuters, and increasing the attractiveness of commuting via buses.

Several bus priority schemes have been put in place in Singapore to improve bus services:

  • Bus priority lanes (yellow/red) & Bus-only lanes
  • Bus priority & Bus-only turning lanes
  • Bus-only road
  • Bus priority box
  • Bus signal priority scheme
  • Traffic light for bus filtering
  • Traffic light signal priority
  • Other bus priority measures
  • Transit Priority Corridors (TPCs)

Transit Priority Corridors (TPCs) combine several forms of bus priority measures, such as bus lanes, bus-only roads, and signal priority for buses. The first TPC was implemented at Bencoolen Street in 2017, with more planned for the future.


Bus Lanes

Bus lanes are dedicated lanes for public buses, often found on the leftmost lane of arterial roads. Three types of bus lanes exist in Singapore:

  • Normal Bus Lanes which are active only during weekday peak hours
  • Full Day Bus Lanes which are active throughout the day on Weekdays and Saturdays
  • Bus Only Lanes are reserved for buses at all times.

These allow buses to move through congested roads, but their effectiveness is limited by the need to accommodate traffic turning in and out of side roads.

Bus lanes can also be used by cyclists in single file, non-scheduled buses (such as school buses and factory buses), and emergency vehicles. Non-scheduled buses are not allowed to make stops or board/alight passengers along bus lanes.

Bus Lanes Normal Bus Lanes Full-Day Bus Lanes Bus Only Lanes
Demarcation Continuous yellow line on the outer edge
Transverse yellow lines
Continuous yellow and red lines on outer edge
Transverse yellow lines
Continuous red line on outer edge
Transverse red lines
  Start of bus lane indicated in “BUS” Start of bus lane indicated in “BUS” and bus lane operating hours Start of bus lane indicated in red, “BUS ONLY” text
Operating Hours Weekdays (except Public Holidays)
07:30 – 09:30 & 17:00 – 20:00
Weekdays & Saturdays (except Public Holidays)
07:30 – 23:00
At all times

Breaks in the bus lane are indicated in dotted lines, where other vehicles turning in/out of a slip road are allowed into the bus lane.

Bus lanes are accompanied by a blue information sign near the start of the bus lane that displays the bus lane operating hours. Some of these signs have LED lamps that illuminate during bus lane hours.

Transit Priority Corridors (TPCs) also feature bus lanes. The first TPC was implemented at Bencoolen Street in 2017 in the form of a bus-only lane.

Examples
  • Normal Bus Lane: Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3 (between Ang Mo Kio Avenue 6 & Yio Chu Kang Road)
  • Full-Day Bus Lane: Orchard Road (between Orange Grove Road & Handy Road)
  • Bus-Only Lane: Bencoolen Street (between Middle Road and Bras Basah Road); Braddell Road (near Lor 6 Toa Payoh flyover)

Bus Turning Lanes

While ordinary bus lanes occupy the leftmost lane, some bus lanes are drawn on the rightmost lane for places where only buses are allowed to turn right. This is most often found outside Bus Interchanges and Integrated Transport Hubs. Most of these turning lanes are bus-only lanes.

Examples of where these full-day bus turning lanes can be found:

  • Bedok North Drive: Right-turn into Bedok Interchange
  • Petir Road: Right-turn into Bukit Panjang Interchange
  • Jurong West Central 3: Right-turn into Boon Lay Interchange
  • Choa Chu Kang Loop: Left- and right-turn into Choa Chu Kang Temporary Interchange
  • Woodlands Avenue 7: Right turn to Woodlands Square
  • Yishun Avenue 2: Right turn to Yishun Interchange
  • Pasir Ris Drive 3: Right turn to Pasir Ris Interchange
  • Jurong Gateway Road: Right turn to Venture Drive (towards Jurong Town Hall Bus Interchange)
  • Venture Drive: Right turn to Jurong Town Hall Bus Interchange & Left turn to Jurong Town Hall Bus Interchange
Bus Interchanges with turning lanes
  • Bedok Bus Interchange
  • Boon Lay Bus Interchange
  • Bukit Panjang Bus Interchange
  • Choa Chu Kang Bus Interchange
  • Joo Koon Bus Interchange
  • Jurong Town Hall Bus Interchange
  • Kampong Bahru Bus Terminal
  • Tampines Bus Interchange
  • Tampines Concourse Bus Interchange
  • Tampines North Bus Interchange
  • Tuas Bus Terminal
  • Woodlands Temporary Bus Interchange
  • Yishun Temporary Bus Interchange

Other types of bus lanes are also used as turning lanes, but are less common:

  • [Normal Bus Lane] Lorong 6 Toa Payoh: Right turn to Toa Payoh Interchange
  • [Normal Bus Lane] ​Braddell Flyover (Northbound CTE slip road): Right turn to Lorong Chuan
  • [Full Day Bus Lane] Woodlands Square and North Woodlands Drive: Rightmost lanes leading to Woodlands Temporary Bus Interchange

Other Bus-only turn lanes

Road/Location Uses
Somerset Road Left turn lane for bus services calling at Grange Road (Somerset Youth Pk)
Jelebu Road Left turn lane for buses turning heading to Bukit Panjang Road (westbound)
Lorong 8 Toa Payoh Left turn lane for Service 238 entering Braddell Road
Upper Bukit Timah Road (before Jalan Anak Bukit) Allows Services 67, 75, 170 & 173 to make a right turn into Upper Bukit Timah Road (to Beauty World Station Exit A)
Lim Chu Kang Road (before Lorong Rusuk / Murai Farmway) Allows Service 405 to make a U-turn along Lim Chu Kang Road
Tuas Road (before Pioneer Road junction) Allows Service 192 and 193 to make a U-turn underneath Tuas Viaduct
Sengkang West Road (northbound) Allows Service 163 to make a right turn into Fernvale Lane
Tampines Avenue 12 (southbound) Allows Service 46 to make a right turn into Tampines North Drive 2
Tampines North Drive 2 (southbound) Allows Services 129 & 298 to make a right turn into Tampines Avenue 12
Bukit Batok Road (southbound) Allows Services 871 & 992 to make a right turn to Tengah Link
Ghim Moh Road (northbound) Allows Services 100 & 111 to make a right turn into the bus turnaround point
Pasir Ris Drive 3 (eastbound) Allows Services 6 & 109 to make a left turn into the bus-only corridor along Loyang Avenue
Hougang Avenue 4 (eastbound) Allows Services 72, 101, 107, 107M, 116, 165 & 329 to make a left turn to Hougang Central
Pasir Ris Drive 8 (northbound) Allows Services 39, 53, 81, 89, 109, 518 & 518A to turn right to Pasir Ris Central
Jurong West Street 74 Allows Service 651 to turn right to bus only section of Jurong West Street 75
Jurong West Ave 5 (northbound) Allows Services 502 & 502A to turn right to bus only section of Jurong West Street 75

The bus only turn lanes / roads may be temporary for the following reasons:

  • Pasir Ris Drive 3 – to facilitate the construction of Cross Island Line Loyang station & Loyang Viaduct (bus only section of Loyang Ave)
  • Hougang Avenue 4 – to facilitate the construction of Cross Island Line Hougang station (temporary closure of part of Hougang Central)
  • Pasir Ris Drive 8 – to facilitate the construction of Cross Island Line Pasir Ris station (temporary closure of part of Pasir Ris Drive 1)
  • Jurong West Ave 5 & Jurong West St 74 – to facilitate the construction of Jurong Region Line Gek Poh station (bus only section of Jurong West St 75); 7 July 2024 to 30 Nov 2024

Bus-only road

As implied, Bus-only roads are only meant for use by buses and other authorized vehicles. These differ from the abovementioned Bus Lanes by being dedicated roads where only buses are allowed, often separated from other forms of traffic.

Bus-only road examples:

  • Access roads leading to certain bus stops
    • AYE bus stops: Bus stops are usually built along short stretches of frontage road parallel to the expressway. The section of road serving said bus stop is designated as a bus-only road.
    • TPE (Punggol Rd) Bus stops
    • Serangoon Garden Way (aft Yio Chu Kang Road and Serangoon Garden Circus)
    • Tampines Central 1 (Tampines Stn Exit D)
    • Airport Blvd (Aft Changi Airport PTB2)
  • Braddell Road (eastbound near Lor 6 Toa Payoh flyover) – partial Bus-only lane
  • Connaught Drive: Between Stamford Rd and Fullerton Rd
  • Parliament Place: Section between Supreme Court Lane and Connaught Dr
  • Woodlands Square (anticlockwise) from Woodlands Ave 7 to Woodlands Ave 3
  • Loyang Ave: Between junction of Pasir Ris Drive 3 / New Loyang Link and Loyang Way (Bus-only corridor)
  • Jurong West St 75: Between junction of Jurong West Ave 5 and Jurong West St 74 (Temporary from 7 Jul 2024 to 30 Nov 2024 to facilitate construction of Jurong Region Line Gek Poh Station)

 


Bus Stops

A. Bus Priority Box

Also known as the Mandatory Give Way to Buses scheme, the Bus Priority Box gives buses priority to exit bus bays, allowing buses to depart a bus stop more quickly without having to wait for a gap in traffic.

The Bus Priority Box is indicated by a solid yellow box with an arrow indicating bus movement. Give Way road markings are printed some distance before the Priority Box, advising motorists watch out for buses exiting the bus stop ahead. If a bus is exiting the bay, motorists must come to a stop before the Give Way line to allow buses to merge into their lane. Motorists may continue their journey once the bus has successfully exited the bus bay and no other buses are pulling out from the bus bay. Motorists are also not allowed to stop within the Bus Priority Box.

The scheme was first introduced in December 2008 as a trial and progressively implemented at over 300 bus stops by end-2014.

Special cases:

Two bus stops along Orchard Road have a Bus Priority Box without a bus bay. First introduced in March 2016, these Priority Boxes allow buses to exit the bus lane more easily, which is necessary given the staggered bus stop arrangement along Orchard Road.

  • 09037 Orchard Rd (Bef Cairnhill Rd)
  • 09038 Orchard Rd (Opp Somerset Stn)

In addition, the expressway bus stop along Tampines Expressway (TPE) is a special application of Bus Priority Box for buses, allowing buses to merge into traffic from a side road. This opened in 2014.

  • 65191 TPE (Bef Punggol Rd)

B. B-signal priority scheme

Also known as the ‘B Sign for Buses‘. Signal priority is given to buses at traffic light junctions by providing them with a head start, which helps to facilitate buses to turn right at downstream junctions. This is especially useful for wide roads with high traffic flow.

Traffic junctions with this scheme have an additional traffic light indicator (B sign) which illuminates in green, allowing buses on the leftmost lane only to proceed before the traffic junction turns green for all traffic. The indicator flashes green to indicate the end of the bus signal priority window.

List of bus stops/nearby traffic lights with priority signal lights: (not exhaustive)

  • 02061 – Raffles Avenue (The Esplanade)
  • 03011 – Cecil Street (Prudential Twr)
  • 03223 – Anson Rd (Tanjong Pagar Stn Exit C)
  • 04121 – Stamford Rd (SMU)
  • 04168 – North Bridge Road (Aft City Hall Stn Exit B)
  • 07539 – Sungei Road (Bef Rochor Stn Exit B)
  • 07569 – Middle Road (Aft Waterloo St)
  • 08057 – Orchard Road (Dhoby Ghaut Stn)
  • 09023 – Orchard Turn (Opp Orchard Stn/ION)
  • 09179 – Orchard Road (Royal Thai Embassy)
  • 17181 – Commonwealth Avenue West (Opp Blk 317)
  • 17189 – Commonwealth Avenue West (Blk 317)
  • 18111 – Dover Road (Fairfield Meth Pr Sch)
  • 20109 – Commonwealth Avenue West (Blk 203)
  • 40019 – Bukit Timah Road (Little India Stn)
  • 50229 – Balestier Road (Opp Blk 104)
  • 51029 – Thomson Road (Opp Old Police Acad)
  • 54229 – Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3 (Ang Mo Kio Pr Sch)
  • 54239 – Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3 (Blk 209)
  • 54247 – Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3 (Blk 322)
  • 55131 – Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4 (Blk 612)
  • 55171 – Ang Mo Kio Avenue 6 (Castle Green)
  • 58991 – Yishun Avenue 2 (Blk 767)
  • 63201 – Yio Chu Kang Road (Affinity At Serangoon)
  • 67081 – Sengkang West Road (Aft Yio Chu Kang Rd)
  • 67089 – Sengkang West Road (Bef Fernvale Lane)
  • 70131 – MacPherson Road (Bef Davidson Rd)
  • 70201 – Circuit Road (Opp MacPherson Stn Exit D)
  • 76191 – Tampines Avenue 7 (Blk 401)
  • 76199 – Tampines Avenue 7 (Blk 503)
  • 82061 – Sims Avenue East (Eunos Stn/Int)

C. Traffic light for bus filtering

In this use case, a traffic light is positioned after a bus stop that stops all incoming traffic along the main road, allowing buses to exit a bus stop with ease. This is used in areas with a high volume of traffic, coupled with the need for buses to filter across multiple traffic lanes.

Bus stops with this feature are fitted with an inductive loop which detects the presence of a bus. If the bus is unsuccessful in filtering out of the bus stop after a period of time, the red light is triggered for the main road, allowing the bus to filter out with ease.

An additional traffic light indicator (B sign) illuminates in green, indicating when buses are allowed to safely depart the bus bay. The indicator flashes green to indicate the end of the bus signal priority window.

Only two bus stops have this bus priority scheme implemented:

  • 43452 – Bt Batok Rd (Aft Bt Batok West Ave 3)
    Allows Service 174 to filter right before turning into PIE
  • 28309 – Jurong Town Hall Rd (Intl Business Pk)
    Allows Service 49 and 178 to filter right before turning into AYE
Special cases:
  • Sengkang West Road (right turn to Fernvale Lane) – Signalised junction with ‘B Sign’
  • Prince Edward Road (left turn to Shenton Way) – Signalised junction with ‘B Sign’

Traffic light signal priority

Active transit signal priority schemes are used to dynamically adjust the traffic light timings to reduce delays for public buses. This involves the use of specialised hardware, such as transponders onboard buses.

One such Smart Bus Priority System was trialled between November 2018 and April 2019 on Tower Transit Bus Service 98 and SBS Transit Bus Service 99, which ply Jurong East Avenue 1 and Jurong West Avenue 1 between Jurong Town Hall Road and Jurong West Street 42/52.

Past trials have also been known to be conducted, one example being for Bus Service 700 in 1998.


Transit Priority Corridors (TPCs)

In line with the Land Transport Master Plan 2040, the LTA intends to implement Transit Priority Corridors (TPC) to prioritise public transport in key areas starting in 2020. This will be an enhanced form of bus priority measures compared to the typical bus lanes today. The first TPC was opened in 2017 along Bencoolen Street.

According to LTA, TPCs are roads that are integrated with bus lane, wider footpaths and dedicated cycling paths or shared paths.

TPC Locations

  • Bencoolen Street
    (Between Middle Road & Bras Basah Road; Bus Only Lane)
  • Tampines Avenue 1
    (Between Tampines Avenue 5 & Tampines Avenue 8; Regular Bus Lane)
  • Tengah Link

Areas earmarked for TPC implementation are:

  • Bayshore Drive
  • Chencharu Link
  • Jurong Canal Drive Extension to Boon Lay Way
  • Jurong Lake District^
  • Loyang^
  • North-East Region^
  • North-South Corridor
  • Punggol North
  • Robinson Road
  • Tengah Central
  • Between Tengah Boulevard & Jurong Canal Drive
  • Tengah Way
  • Tengah Park Avenue
  • Woodlands North Coast
  • Sin Ming Avenue
    (Between Marymount Road & Upper Thomson Road)

^ are tentative as per LTMP 2040​


Other bus priority measures

U-turn points:

Some bus routes have to make three-point turns along their route, and these u-turn areas are not to be obstructed by other road vehicles:

  • Fidelio Street (Service 42) – Advisory signs for bus reversing only
  • Jalan Loyang Besar (Service 354)
  • Kranji Reservoir Car Park B (Service 925)
  • Jalan Rumah Tinggi (Service 63)

Former:

  • Ghim Moh Terminal (Service 100, 111)
Road Stubs for Bus U-turn:

Some road ends have dedicated places for public buses to perform u-turns. These sections of road have road signs indicating No Entry except for Public Buses:

  • Jurong West Avenue 3 (Service 181)
  • Edgedale Plains (Service 386)
  • Edgefield Plains (Service 386)
  • Punggol East (Service 381)
Bus turning only:

Allows buses to make a left turn on a straight-only traffic lane.

This is implemented at Mountbatten Road (junction with Fort Road) such that buses emerging from the previous bus stop (91099 – Bef Wilkinson Rd) do not have to filter across multiple lanes of traffic.

Bus and Cycling lane trial

In October 2022, the LTA embarked on a six-month Sunday Cycling Lane trial in Seletar Aerospace Park. During lane operating hours on Sunday mornings from 5 am to 11 am, only buses and cyclists are allowed in the cycling lane.

The cycling lane, which spans 4.6km, is demarcated by solid blue lane markings. Its operating hours are indicated on the signboards by the road, and on the road surface markings on the carriageway. There are also “Lane begins” and “Lane ends” signboards by the road to demarcate the start and end points of the Sunday Cycling Lane.


References

One thought on “Bus Priority Schemes in Singapore

  • 23 August 2020 at 8:44 PM
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    bus svc 925 also makes a 3point u-turn at Kranji reservoir Pk b

    Reply

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