On 26 June 2010, the Transport Ministry announced that public transport operators such as SBS Transit "are continuously looking at ways to improve basic bus services" and identified 20 heavily-used bus services for improvement. These bus services are reported to have problem areas in bus frequencies and crowding. A common source of frustration is the waiting time and when these buses do arrive, it's always full!
Improvement measures such as deploying higher capacity buses and adding bus strips along sectors that the bus services are experiencing heavy usage. The operators claimed that "commuters of these services who are travelling along the heavily-used stretches will benefit from the increase in the number of bus trips during peak hours. In all, there will be 71 more trips among these 20 services, or around 3-4 more buses plying during the morning and evening peaks. Mathematically, how does this minuscule change improve waiting times?
One of these bus service is 145 which plies from Buona Vista to Toa Payoh via Commonwealth MRT and Queenstown MRT. It is one of the most popular numbers among Queenstown residents travelling to schools such as Queensway Secondary, Queenstown Secondary and to town areas and civic districts such as Harbourfront and Telok Ayer.
Bus Service 145-one of the buses selected for improvements
Poh Ee, a member of MyQueenstown Team, travels to Queenstown Secondary School via Service No. 145
MyQueenstown Team arrives at Queenstown MRT in the morning peak a day before the implementation (27 June 2010) and after the implementation (30 June 2010) to experience for ourselves the number of buses calling at the bus stop. On 27 June 2010, there were 7 buses or an average waiting time of 9 minutes while there were 9 or an average waiting of 6.5 minutes on 30 June. Of course, these figures may mean nothing when we compare that to commuters' satisfaction.
Thomas Teng, 28, travels to his office at Henderson Road from Queenstown MRT every morning. He commented, "I don't have a problem waiting for 145 generally because the bus service is quite regular and frequent. The longest time I have waited for 145 is 10 minutes on weekday morning. It's faster today of course but I'm not sure that is because the bus driver is driving faster."
Mr Wang, who travels from Strathmore to New Town Primary School daily, commented that he has a wide range of alternatives and do not have to wait excessive amounts of time for 145.
We Met Mr Wang before!
Linda, a sales executive working in Harboufront, takes 145 daily. She noticed that the waiting time has improved too, "I used to wait for about 10 minutes for 145. Now I can take it for around 8 minutes or less."
The initial contempt over the minuscule increment in bus ride was proven wrong by the commuters themselves! Yeah, Queenstown residents including MyQueenstown Team will look forward for more improvements to our transport options! =)