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Grab...For Public Buses? LTA To Trial On-Demand Bus Service In December

With the introduction of ride-hailing apps like Uber and Grab, we’ve been able to have car rides work around our schedules; but taking the public bus has always been something we had to work around instead.

Yesterday, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) announced that public buses could soon, too, be on an on-demand basis.

As the second phase of its on-demand public buses (ODPB) trial, a six-month operational trial would begin in December this year.

During the trial, commuters will be able to, via an app, request for pick-ups and drop-offs at any bus stop within a designated area.

The trial would start only with selected services with low travel demand during off-peak hours, and while the routes and timings have yet to be announced, The Straits Times reported that “LTA had said last year that routes in Joo Koon, Punggol and Marina South were being considered“.

LTA added that it will “continue to run selected low-demand bus services with similar connections at lower frequencies”, so commuters who prefer regular buses can still use fixed route bus services.

Companies Involved Awarded S$2.26M For Second Phase

As mentioned above, the trial is the second phase of the ODPB plan by LTA and the two companies involved in the tender – Ministry of Movement Pte. Ltd (also known as SWAT), and Via Transportation, Inc.

The first phase saw SWAT and Via successfully developing a dynamic routing and matching algorithm, and stemmed from contracts worth more than S$466,000 awarded to the companies in February this year.

They were again awarded S$2.26 million to carry out the second phase, which would see the development of hardware and software solutions for the ODPB plan.

The solutions include the apps that commuters and bus captains would use, back-end tools required to monitor services during the trial,  and operational and maintenance support for the system.

“Both contractors will train bus captains and support staff to operate the system. Additional simulations will also be conducted to fine-tune the operating parameters and geofence areas of the system,” said LTA.

What do you think about this addition? Would you use this, or prefer private bus-hailing service like GrabShuttle or CDGBus?


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