I am writing in to seek clarification from SBS Transit on their Express bus services.
I am a regular passenger of bus 506 from Jurong East to Bedok. Once in a while I take the same bus service from Bedok to Jurong East too. This bus service is supposedly an Express bus which, other than travelling on the expressway and ends up being stuck in peak hour traffic, does not justify the label of ‘Express’ and is merely overcharging commuters.
I used the fare calculator on SBS Transit's website and discovered my trip on Service 506 costs $2.46. It might not seem expensive, but considering that commuters have to tolerate long waits for the buses of at least 20-30 minutes during peak hours and the buses are not dedicated for Express services; they are just buses that have been taken off ordinary bus services. By charging a premium for this service, you would think the recently purchased Mercedes buses would be used. Sadly, the older models which can be deemed as obsolete are used for these Express services instead.
Since the Transport Minister Mr Lui Tuck Yew mentioned he would monitor bus frequencies, some trunk services have seen improvements but definitely not the Express services. Their standards have not improved in the last few years. If the reason for the long waiting times is too few passengers, I think SBS Transit should reflect on the above points on why these supposed premium services are not having more passengers. Passenger numbers should not be the only consideration to reduce the buses for premium services since commuters are already paying more. In fact, the frequencies should be more regardless of the demand.
I have had these thoughts for quite some time but wrote in because a recent encounter with a bus captain was the final straw for me. As bus 506 arrived at 7.11pm, I boarded and asked, "Isn't the indicated arrival time 7.01pm?" He did not answer my question and instead gave me a condescending look to show his displeasure. I was the only passenger who boarded at that stop, but surely there were other passengers waiting at other bus stops waiting for this bus?
SBS Transit needs to improve all their services, ensure the accuracy of the bus arrival and departure times, not just change without any announcements or skip over to the next set of times. If the bus captains have performed well, give them their deserved wage increment, but not at the expense of fare hikes when your services have not seen much improvement over the years.
A frustrated commuter,