The Land Transport Authority (LTA) marked December 17 as the first day of six-month trial of the on-demand bus service.
Commuters had a taste of convenience of booking pick-ups and drop-offs of public SBS Transit buses through mobile apps in the Joo Koon and Marina-Downtown areas on weekdays from 11 AM to 3PM. It also services on weeknights, from 8:30 PM to 11:30 PM within Joo Koon and until 11:45 PM within Marina-Downtown.
BusGo mobile app by American company Via Transportation is for the weekday bookings within Joo Koon while BusNow app, provided by the Ministry of Movement (Swat), is for the weekday bookings within Marina-Downtown.
Photos from Google Playstore
On the second part of the trial starting Jan 4, the public can book weekend night services of SMRT Buses serving Central Business District to Bedok and Tampines routes via Geylang.
The$2.26 million contract to run the trial was awarded early this year to Via Transportation and Ministry of Movement (Swat).
An e-boarding pass will be issued to commuters after a successful booking. Payment for the bus rides will still be done using their EZ-Link card. Fares are based on a distance of 3.2 km costing 77 cents for adult fare card and will be increased to 89 cents after fare revision soon to be implemented on Dec 29.
Group booking options, walking directions to the pick-up point, a two-minute alert before drop-off points, and request for wheelchair space are also offered in the apps.
Those who have tried both mobile app services, which were already available for download since Dec. 3, were impressed for being user-friendly. Others also find it accurate with estimated waiting time and real-time location bus tracker.
Screengrab from Youtube
LTA assured the public that regular bus services are still in operation but less frequent during the trial period, from Dec 17 to Jun 15.
The demo ride was done last Dec 3 with Janil Puthucheary, the Senior Minister of State for Transport. “We’re experimenting with a new form of public transport to see if we can optimise the opportunities for commuters,” he said.
Puthucheary also remarked: “We need to experiment with a few models of public transport to find out what people need, what people want. We certainly hope to try this in other areas…A lot will depend on how commuters react.”