Since end-April 2021, next-stop announcements have been available on selected public buses. These announcements are broadcasted automatically, announcing the next bus stop along a bus route.
The Trapeze Common Fleet Management System (CFMS) provides the interface for the provision of bus stop announcements.
Part of the CFMS comprises an On-Board Computer (OBC) housed inside every public bus. The bus’ location is tracked via GPS antenna, and this information is fed to the OBC, which keeps track of buses en-route and increments stops automatically. The next stop announcements are automatically broadcasted through interior speakers (if installed) after the bus leaves the previous stop.
The use of bus stop announcements complements the rollout of the Passenger Information Display System (PIDS) on newer buses, which visually displays bus stop information along the bus route. The PIDS system also taps on the OBC for the incrementing of bus stops, as illustrated in the system architecture diagram below, supplied by LECIP:
Since all public buses are fitted with CFMS, all of them are technically capable of supporting bus stop announcements, but it remains to be seen if older buses without speakers will be retrofitted with them. Many older buses built to SBS Transit specifications (e.g. Scania K230UB and Volvo B9TL buses) do not come with speakers.
Apart from individual bus stop names, advisory announcements can also be automatically broadcasted, such as those reminding passengers to take their belongings (played at Changi Airport), and those reminding passengers to maintain good personal hygiene during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Trapeze CFMS also contains canned announcements (i.e. pre-recorded announcements) that can be manually selected by the Bus Captain.
Brief History of Bus Audio Announcements
April 2016: Text to speech version
Bus stop announcements were first introduced as part of the Trapeze Common Fleet Management System (CFMS) rollout in April 2016, where the Trapeze CFMS was retrofitted onto existing public buses, starting with Tower Transit buses which were part of the tendered Bulim Bus Package. Audio announcements were made available only on Mercedes-Benz Citaro buses, which had speakers installed in the bus cabin.
These early announcements were direct text-to-speech conversions of the bus stop name, which meant that it did not recognise the acronyms and abbreviations used widely in Singapore. For example, it spells out abbreviations and numbers, announcing the bus stop name Blk 376 as “Next stop, B. L. K. Three hundred and seventy-six.” instead of “Next stop, Block 376”.
April 2017: LTA PIDS Trial
A trial Passenger Information Display System (PIDS) was installed on a single Tower Transit MAN NL323F bus, deployed on Bus Service 106. While the display screen debuted in December 2016, announcements were only added in April 2017.
These announcements are also computer-generated but now pronounces bus stops correctly, drawing from a pre-programmed database. Announcements were only available while the bus plied on Bus Service 106 during the trial.
October 2017: Changi Airport announcement
As part of a fleet restriction believed to be imposed by the Land Transport Authority, Mercedes-Benz Citaro buses (which are fitted with speakers as standard) were deployed to airport-plying public bus services 24, 27, 34, 36, 53, 110 and 858.
An in-bus announcement advising commuters to inform the Bus Captain if they see any suspicious persons or articles was triggered when approaching Changi Airport Terminal 1, 2, 3 or 4.
The announcement is recorded in 4 languages (English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil) and is automatically broadcasted at each Airport Terminal Building twice as part of the increased security presence at the Airport.
Please remember to take all your personal belongings when alighting. If you see any suspicious articles, report it to our Bus Captain.
2018 onwards: Current-generation announcements
The latest generation of recorded announcements was first launched on buses in December 2018.
December 2018: LTA PIDS + Announcement Rollout
The latest generation of bus stop announcements was launched in December 2018 with the rollout of Volvo B5LH buses, on Bus Services 59, 93, 272, 859 and 920. These buses come equipped with a Passenger Information Display System (PIDS), inclusive of interior speakers which are used for broadcasting these announcements. Since 2018, LTA mandates the installation of PIDS on all new buses.
Other buses with interior speakers also played announcements at bus stops shared with these Volvo B5LH-deployed routes.
January 2019: LTA APIS trial
An Assistive Passenger Information System was trialled on public buses to improve the commuting experience for commuters with special needs.
3 Scania K230UB buses (SBS5051X, SBS5215R, SBS5236E) were retrofitted with speakers as part of the APIS trial; the first time that speakers have been retrofitted to older buses for the purpose of broadcasting announcements. These buses were deployed on Bus Services 139 & 141, and bus stop announcements were enabled for these services.
2019/2020: Expansion of announcement coverage
As more new buses equipped with PIDS were deployed on the roads (such as the Yutong E12 & BYD K9), next stop announcements were rolled out on the bus services which these new buses were deployed on. Some Go-Ahead buses also received announcements.
April 2021: Full rollout
The next stop announcements were rolled out islandwide on all bus services from Sunday, 25 April 2021. Only buses with interior speakers on board were able to broadcast the announcements.
Reconfiguration of speakers on SMRT-spec buses
In the months following April 2021, some older SMRT-spec buses with speakers have been reconfigured to support audio announcements from the Trapeze CFMS. These speakers were previously used to play the ‘Bus Stopping’ bell chime and SMRT’s own announcements.
Other bus audio announcements
CFMS GPS Navigation System
The CFMS also offers a GPS Navigation feature for the benefit of Bus Captains. In-built speakers within the Driver Display Unit can be enabled to provide voice navigation for the Bus Captain. Commuters near the front of the bus near the Bus Captain would be able to hear audio instructions as part of the GPS Navigation feature, such as “now stop at (bus stop name)” and “next stop (bus stop name) in (distance)”. The audio instructions come in both English and Chinese.
Exterior facing speaker
Newer PIDS-equipped buses also have an exterior-facing speaker. The functionality of these speakers has yet to be activated.
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