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Expensive bus stop benches that were “meant to last 20 years” are set to be replaced in exercise costing millions

The seat replacement project isn't sitting too well with many Singaporeans who feel it is a waste of money

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Singapore-The Land Transport Authority (LTA) announced on Thursday (7 Mar) that the seats at bus shelters will be revamped to feature wider seats in an exercise costing millions of dollars.

The statutory board, which is under the Ministry of Transport, announced that it has installed these new seats – some of which even feature arm rests – at some of the 3,000 bus shelters the LTA owns and operates.

According to the Transport Ministry’s 2019 expenditure estimates, the new seats will be installed at another 2,097 bus stops operated by private vendors in exchange for a licence to show advertisements.

This exercise is expected to cost a hefty S$2.14 million, according to the LTA.

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This new project has rubbed some Singaporeans the wrong way, since the Government said just last year that benches at bus stops are expected to last “at least 20 years with minimum maintenance.”

The older benches are also expensive. Last October, the LTA said that bus-stop benches in Singapore cost between S$500 and S$1,500, excluding installation costs. For example, a typical powder-coated aluminium bench costs around S$1,300, with an installation cost of about S$200.

Responding to LTA’s latest announcement, socio-political commentator Andrew Loh wrote on Facebook: “Today, 7 March, the LTA says bus stop benches will be “replaced” with those with “wider seats”. But last October, it said such benches “are expected to last at least 20 years with minimum maintenance.”

Referring to Lee Bee Wah’s recent parliamentary speech in which she compared the Government to a generous grandfather who “scrimps” on himself to provide for his ungrateful children, Loh added tongue-in-cheek:

“I thought “Ah Kong” is good at scrimping? Why such waste?”

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