Quarterly Review: January – March 2017

Many more interesting public transport developments were introduced in the first 3 months of 2017, especially in bus services. Both service quality and infrastructure were improved, with new services and improved accessibility initiatives to make buses more attractive to commuters.

Launch of New MAN Lion City DD L Bus

LTA's MAN Lion's City DD L Concept Bus (SG5999Z), operating on Tower Transit Service 143
LTA’s MAN Lion’s City DD L Concept Bus (SG5999Z), operating on Tower Transit Service 143. The steerable tag axle is evident as the bus navigates tight corners.

Tower Transit, in collaboration with LTA, started trials of the MAN Lion’s City DD L Concept Bus, previously exhibited at the public transport bus carnival. The bus features numerous improvements in accessibility and convenience and is custom designed for the Singapore market. It will be demonstrated for a period of 6 months and is currently plying service 143.


New Passenger Information Display System (PIDS) Trial

LTA's trial PIDS (LCD screen) supplements the existing LED dot-matrix panel that only displays the bus stop name
LTA’s trial PIDS (LCD screen) supplements the existing LED dot-matrix panel that only displays the bus stop name

LTA is currently trialling a new PIDS on one bus plying service 106, operated by Tower Transit. The system is designed to provide real-time route information and is expected to eventually also feature audio announcements. The PIDS was one of the most requested features at LTA’s Public Transport Carnival in 2016.


Community of Supply (COS) Debate 2017

New track-side antennas and other infrastructure for the CBTC signalling system has been installed along the NSEWL.
New track-side antennas and other infrastructure for the CBTC signalling system has been installed along the NSEWL.

The Ministry of Transport (MOT) announced plans for the future of Singapore’s public transport during the COS 2017 Debate. New bus and train reliability standards were set, in tandem with infrastructural and technological improvements designed to help these standards be met. Accessibility improvements for the old, disabled and parents were also made public.


New Bus Services 

4 new bus services were introduced or amended in the past 3 months.

On 22 January, services 382G and 382W, operated by Go-Ahead Singapore, was extended to ply Sumang Lane and Sumang Crescent, to improve transport accessibility in the new housing estates there.

A month later, SMRT commenced operations of Bus Service 973, plying between Bukit Panjang Temporary Bus Park and Hume Avenue, enhancing connectivity between Hume residents and Hillview MRT Station.

SBS Transit Bus Service 374 was introduced on 12 March, along with the opening of Compassvale Bus Interchange, which it plies from.

On the same day, Go-Ahead Singapore started operations of Bus Service 381, which serves the Punggol East and West area.


Opening of Compassvale Bus Interchange

Compassvale Bus Interchange was opened in conjunction with the launch of SBS Transit Service 374. Although 374 is the only bus service to terminate at Compassvale, it is expected that there will be additional bus services serving it in the future.


Bus Retirements

The last batch of Mercedes-Benz O405 rigid buses, with Volgren bodywork, were retired on 27 February. These buses served as training buses in the last few years, after they had been withdrawn from revenue service in 2014-2015.

A week after the Volgren-bodied O405s formally retired, all the Hispano-bodied Mark II O405Gs were also withdrawn from service. This leaves SMRT with only the Hispano Habit and the Volgren O405G variants, the former which will begin deregistration in June 2017.


Withdrawal of Premium Bus Service 555

SBS Transit Volvo B9TL Wright (SBS3843R) - Premium 555
SBS Transit Volvo B9TL Wright (SBS3843R) – Premium 555

On the last day of March, SBS will cease operations of Premium 555. Subsequently, none of the 4 public transport operators in Singapore will be operating any premium bus services, with all either being withdrawn or handed over to private bus companies.


Tower Transit Special Destination Signage

Tower Transit Mercedes-Benz Citaro (SG1005T) - Service 49, with Valentine's Day EDS scroll
Tower Transit Mercedes-Benz Citaro (SG1005T) – Service 49, with Valentine’s Day EDS scroll

On Valentine’s 2017, selected Tower Transit buses had a special scroll on their destination signs to celebrate the day. Tower Transit was the first public transport operator in Singapore to program a Valentine’s Day message on their buses’ destination signs.


Partial closure of Upper Aljunied Road

Upper Aljunied Road - Abolished bus stops
Upper Aljunied Road – Abolished bus stops

From Sunday, 12 March 2017, a section of Upper Aljunied Road was permanently closed to traffic as part of plans to transform it into a heritage walk. As a result, four bus stops along the affected stretch of road were abolished.


SMRT bendy bus in accident at Yew Tee

The bus ended up in a cluster of trees
The bus ended up in a cluster of trees

In one of the more serious public transport accidents this year, an SMRT bendy bus plying service 302 was involved in an accident with a car and ended up stuck on a pavement surrounded by trees. The ensuing recovery process spanned a few hours and required two tow trucks, after the first one was damaged in an attempt to tow the bus back onto the road.


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