LTA awards first phase of tender for on-demand bus services trial

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has awarded contracts totalling $466,194.50 to two companies, namely Via Transportation, Inc. (Via) and Ministry of Movement Pte. Ltd (SWAT), as part of the first phase of its trial of on-demand, dynamically-routed public bus services

LTA called a tender in August 2017 to seek proposals from the industry to trial on-demand bus services. Such customised bus services allow for more direct journeys for commuters, while optimising resources.

According to the authority, a total of 10 proposals from both local and overseas tenderers were received.

It stated that following a thorough evaluation process, Via and SWAT were assessed to have a strong understanding of the tender requirements. Both also submitted comprehensive bids that were high-quality and good value-for-money. Via and SWAT were therefore awarded contracts for the first phase of the trial.

It then added that both Via and SWAT have proven track records in developing on-demand ride-sharing applications and operating real-time, dynamically-routed bus services. Via is currently operating on-demand bus services in major metropolitan cities, such as Chicago and New York, while SWAT is a local start-up that commenced operations in Singapore in August 2016.

“Globally, on-demand bus services have been implemented in major cities such as Helsinki in Finland, Chicago, Minnesota, New York and Washington D.C. in the United States, and most recently, Sydney in Australia,” it added.

In this first phase of the trial, LTA stated that both Via and SWAT will develop a dynamic matching and routing algorithm which will enable buses to be deployed according to real-time commuter demand, as well as pick-up and drop-off points. They will also conduct simulations to demonstrate and refine the service standard and resource requirements to enable LTA to determine the operational trial parameters, such as the trial areas.

In the second phase, to be awarded in third quarter of 2018, LTA added that the successful tenderers will work with LTA and public bus operators to test and calibrate the software and hardware solutions before carrying out the operational trial from the fourth quarter of 2018.

In the lead-up to the operational trial, LTA said that it will work with the bus operators and communities in the trial areas to familiarise residents and commuters on the use of such bus services.

During the operational hours of on-demand bus services, LTA noted that it will continue to run selected low-demand feeder and/or trunk bus services providing similar connections at a reduced frequency, so that commuters who prefer the regular buses still have access to public bus services.

“More details of the operational trial will be announced closer to the implementation dates,” it added.

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