Minister for Transport Lui Tuck Yew announced the two-year trial to improve en-route bus reliability by Land Transport Authority (LTA) this morning at the launch of the Ang Mo Kio Direct Bus Service 652.
The Bus Service Reliability Framework (formerly known as Quality Incentive Framework) aims to improve the en-route reliability of bus services and address concerns from bus commuters about long and irregular waiting times at bus stops.
Under BSRF, bus operators will be incentivised to minimise instances of irregular and prolonged waiting times by taking steps to resolve them. Operators will need to enhance their en-route management of bus operations.
This means having the Operations Control Centres be more vigilant and make appropriate interventions. Interventions that would involve giving guidance to the bus drivers even as the buses are running on the roads, in order to regulate bus travelling speed and to reduce long gaps between consecutive buses. On occasion, this may mean having buses wait at a bus stop for a minute or two in order to avoid bus bunching further down the route, as long as this does not obstruct traffic or other buses at the bus stop.
The trial will involve 22 bus services for a period of 2 years. The 22 bus services will be progressively brought onto the BSRF in the first half of the year, with the first batch of 15 services 8 SBST and 7 SMRT services – starting in next month, February and March.
These initial 15 services are Bus Services 3, 17, 39, 52, 176, 184, 188, 228, 241, 242, 302, 325, 858, 901 and 911.
Details of the rest of the services will be provided closer to the implementation date.
The scheme, which targets en-route reliability, will complement the existing Quality of Service (QoS) Standards which measure the adherence of bus services to scheduled headways(or bus arrival intervals) at bus terminals and interchanges.
Under BSRF, bus operators will be rewarded or penalised based on how regular the bus arrival intervals are at bus stops measured by an indicator known as Excess Wait Time (EWT). EWT, which is a measure of commuters’ waiting time, compares how the actual waiting time (AWT) of commuters deviates from the scheduled waiting time (SWT). For example, EWT of 2 minutes means that on average, commuters would have to wait 2 minutes longer than the SWT.
Public Transport Operators (PTOs) will stand to receive between S$2,000 and S$6,000 or pay a penalty between S$1300 and $4000 depending on the fleet size for every 0.1 minute outperformance or underperformance in its EWT score compared to baseline.
As LTA understands that BSRF is a significant change to bus operations, it states that there will be no incentives nor penalties until end of May 2014 to allow PTOs time to adjust. Incentives and penalties will be assessed and paid out to the bus operators on a 6-monthly basis, after the phase-in period.