Buses play an integral role in our hub-and-spoke public transport system design, connecting commuters to and from transport hubs. To improve commuters’ overall journey experience, LTA regulates bus operators, and design road infrastructure to prioritise buses.
LTA is the central planner for the public bus network, and is responsible for designing an integrated public transport system where commuters are connected seamlessly across both bus and rail services.
LTA is also responsible for the overall financial viability of the public bus network under the Bus Contracting Model, which has been fully implemented since 2016.
Under this model, LTA contracts operators to run public bus services through a competitive tendering process. LTA determines the bus routes to be provided as well as the service standards. For instance, operators are required to ensure that during peak periods, all buses are scheduled to arrive every 15 minutes or less, with at least half of these scheduled to arrive every ten minutes or less.
Bus operators bid for the contract to operate packages of bus services. Operators which are awarded the contracts are paid service fees to operate the bus services, while fare revenue is collected by the Government. There are now four public bus operators – Go Ahead Singapore, SBS Transit, SMRT, and Tower
Over time, the Government will take over the ownership of all bus infrastructure and operating assets, which include depots and buses from existing operators. This will lower the barriers of entry to the market, attract new entrants, and facilitate any transition from incumbent operators to new operators.
This model also allows the Government to respond quickly to changes in ridership and commuter needs, and incentivises operators to improve service quality. The greater contestability in the bus industry can also spur innovation and efficiency.
To make the best use of road space, LTA has been expanding the coverage of normal and full-day bus lanes, as well as the Mandatory Give Way to Buses scheme along busy roads. LTA has also been working to improve overall journey times by reducing the time spent by buses at bus stops. More bus bays have been added to heavily-used bus stops and three-door buses added to the fleet.
LTA is also rolling out more bus signal priority lights at junctions and bus priority boxes, as well as trying out new technology for traffic lights to favour the movement of public buses.