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Old 25th October 2012, 08:00 AM   #1 (permalink)
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The bus of the future is here, now

The bus of the future is here, now

by Richard Hartung
04:45 AM Oct 22, 2012


A brand new bus service began running at the end of last month, where buses arrive every 10 minutes during peak hours morning and evening, arriving on time or within minutes of the scheduled time.

Commuters can check arrival times on the screen at the bus stop and pay in advance using their electronic card, to speed up boarding. Buses have Wi-Fi, so commuters have more options to connect on the go. And a signal priority system helps synchronise traffic lights with an approaching bus to make the ride faster.

Few Singaporeans will get to experience it, however - the service is only available on the new RapidRide lines in Seattle in the United States.

Seattle is one of many cities where innovative new bus services are giving commuters faster, convenient, more comfortable, connected rides and enticing them to leave their car at home.

Rio de Janeiro, for example, rolled out its new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) programme in June. Sleek blue Ligeiroes ("superfast" in Portuguese) buses use dedicated lanes and are scheduled to arrive every one-and-a-half minutes during peak hours.

Cleveland has BRT too, with sleek Healthline buses on the busiest route in town. Transit officials reduced the number of stops to 36 from 108, according to the Wall Street Journal, and saw the average commute time drop from 45 minutes to 30.

Buses integrate the more appealing images of rail, said Cleveland RTA General Manager Joseph Calabrese, at an affordable cost.

And in Los Angeles, buses boast vibrant colours like California poppy and "playful ads on billboards" encourage Angelinos to leave the car at home. "We wanted to make public transportation cool," said Los Angeles Metro Chief Communications Officer Matt Raymond to Vimeo, so Metro created an in-house ad agency with responsibility for a creative campaign.

"Problem-solution" ads showed cars as villains or polluters, and Metro as the hero or nice solution. In a place usually adamantly opposed to tax increases, Angelinos approved a sales tax increase that will give over US$1 billion (S$1.2 billion) per year to Metro transit for 30 years.

While initiatives like these do not mean all Americans are giving up their cars, they are having an impact. "Discretionary commuters" in Los Angeles, for example, who have a choice of driving or taking the bus, increased from 24 per cent to 36 per cent of all bus riders. Since 2008, when Cleveland introduced its new bus services, ridership has increased 70 per cent.

Kuala Lumpur has a new bus service, too. Free-to-ride GO City KL buses travel around two loops in the central business district, and two more routes are planned by year-end. There is free Wi-Fi. And the buses, which operate from 6am to 11pm, are scheduled to arrive every five minutes during peak hours.

European countries are also focusing on how to take buses to a new level. The European Bus System of the Future project is designed to get more riders on better buses.

Project Director Umberto Guida said they are planning changes like larger doors, onboard communications systems and even ergonomic driver cabins. New buses being tested in Gothenburg in Sweden have extra-wide doors, more light, 20 per cent greater capacity and features to help drivers drive more gently.

Here in Singapore, the transport companies are rolling out more buses. While the new ones do look better than the old ones, they are not quite the sleek and colourful designs in cities like Rio.

Where schedules do exist, they are "subject to traffic conditions" and commuters are still advised to be five minutes early since buses may arrive early or late.

And while priority at traffic lights exists in a few spots, consistent priority for buses, dedicated bus lanes, Wi-Fi or paying before boarding seem like distant dreams.

Yes, bus services of the future have arrived or are coming soon in many cities around the world. Commuters here will just have to hope they find their way to these shores in time, too.

Richard Hartung is a consultant who has lived in Singapore since 1992.

Source: http://www.todayonline.com/Commentar...e-is-here,-now

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Old 25th October 2012, 08:42 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: The bus of the future is here, now

Few Singaporeans will get to experience it, however - the service is only available on the new RapidRide lines in Seattle in the United States.
so not in singapore??

Buses have Wi-Fi, so commuters have more options to connect on the go.
The internet won't be slow??

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Old 25th October 2012, 08:44 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: The bus of the future is here, now

SBS should purchase these buses!!

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Old 25th October 2012, 09:36 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Our public transport must be more efficient

Our public transport must be more efficient

From Vincent Chong
Updated 09:16 PM Oct 23, 2012


I read the commentary "The bus of the future is here, now" (Oct 22) and was amazed that cities in the United States could have such efficient next-generation bus services while Singapore cannot.

For instance, I wonder why all bus timings cannot be displayed at bus interchanges, such as for service 173 at Clementi Interchange. We may have two public transport operators, but is it so hard to have a consolidated system for commuters' benefit?

We pride ourselves as clean and efficient, but simple things do not work sometimes, such as the display panels on MRT trains or incorrect announcements: The train would be at Queenstown, but the announcement indicates Toa Payoh.

I have seen confused tourists on the train who end up checking with fellow commuters. In contrast, I have been to Hong Kong many times and used its trains extensively. They are clean, and the display systems work in all the ones I have taken.

Are the fare increases here and the Government's money being used well?

Source: http://www.todayonline.com/Voices/ED...more-efficient

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Old 25th October 2012, 01:59 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: The bus of the future is here, now

I believe we need to work on our internal transport system.
Just having world-class external (airport) system is not enough.

And the new bus system sounds amazing, the ticket to lower traffic jams.

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Old 25th October 2012, 02:28 PM   #6 (permalink)
one more year to go...
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Re: The bus of the future is here, now

if the bus cant fly or hover then its not the future yet

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Last edited by oldvirgin; 25th October 2012 at 02:29 PM.
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Old 25th October 2012, 02:49 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: The bus of the future is here, now

Budget airlines are already here.

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Old 25th October 2012, 04:03 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Bigger bus fleet sure to solve problems?

Bigger bus fleet sure to solve problems?

From David Soh Poh Huat
Updated 08:30 PM Oct 23, 2012


The Land Transport Authority is reviewing the transport system and more buses will be added to the fleet.

I wonder, though, whether this would definitively solve the problems that commuters face in housing estates such as mine, Tampines, where the problem of infrequent buses and bunching (Service 291) has persisted for many years despite the feedback given.

Perhaps our transport planners are not in touch with the ground. Plans to increase the number of buses may work on paper but may not on the ground, due to traffic conditions.

This may explain why the simple problem of infrequent feeder bus services has not been solved yet.

If a detailed study, involving bus captains, commuters, et cetera, could be done, there may not even be a need to increase the number of buses. The cost savings could then be given back to commuters instead.

Source: http://www.todayonline.com/Voices/ED...olve-problems?

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Old 27th October 2012, 08:15 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Lessons to learn from HK's public transport system

Lessons to learn from HK's public transport system

From Paul Chan Poh Hoi
04:45 AM Oct 24, 2012


Between the public transport systems in Hong Kong and Singapore, I would say the former is better, based on convenience, commuter friendliness, operational efficiency and productivity.

Despite its population of 7.1 million and 42 million tourists last year, Hong Kong operates on a more laissez-faire model than in Singapore (population 5.3 million, 13 million tourists last year).

With 175km of rail, 84 stations and nearly 1,000 exits, the Mass Transit Railway conveys 4.1 million trips daily, while Singapore's 150km of rail and 90 over stations carried 2.3 million trips daily last year.

The former's strategic network of exits and 12-carriage train stations are factors contributing to a ridership twice that of Singapore's.

Hong Kong's buses, including mini-buses, provide 5.7 million passenger trips a day, while ours did 3.4 million last year. The former has five main bus operators, with many small ones, and its bus system is commuter-centric. There is competition along conceivably duplicated routes, and operators scoop up commuters promptly. This is neither wasteful nor destructive but necessary for commuter convenience.

Hong Kong's 18,138 taxis last year, 90 per cent individually owned, made about one million passenger trips daily, while Singapore's 27,000 taxis, mostly owned by seven corporations, only made 933,000 passenger trips.

In terms of taxi ratio per 1,000 residents, Singapore's is 5.2, twice that of Hong Kong. In other words, our taxi productivity and efficiency is lower. Hong Kong needs one taxi to serve 385 residents, while we need two, a waste of resources and manpower.

Both cities have a S$3.20 flag-down fare but Hong Kong's single meter tariff beats having all our surcharges. Passengers here wait for taxis, while taxis wait for passengers in Hong Kong.

Our authorities should keep a tight rein on the taxi industry, while taking a leaf from the New York Corporate Medallions system, in which every licensed cabbie must clock at least 210 nine-hour shifts a year and every cab must be driven for two shifts every day. Failure to comply could result in a cancellation of a driver licence and the revocation of vehicle licence. These strict measures ensure professionalism in the trade and efficient use of productive resources.

If we learn from Hong Kong and New York, we could match Hong Kong's performance, though we may not necessarily be as freewheeling.

Source: http://www.todayonline.com/Voices/ED...ansport-system

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Old 27th October 2012, 10:39 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: The bus of the future is here, now

More buses are needed...But can the roads cope with more vehicles ?

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Old 27th October 2012, 11:00 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: The bus of the future is here, now

I believe bus route planning is an art, not science.

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Old 30th October 2012, 10:45 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Time for LTA to act on these omissions

Time for LTA to act on these omissions

From Mak Seck Hong
04:46 AM Oct 27, 2012


I refer to the letter "Our public transport must be more efficient" (Oct 24), which highlighted that departure times for Service 173 are not reflected on bus schedule panels at Clementi Interchange.

The same problem exists at Bukit Merah Interchange for Services 167, 176 and 851.

The Land Transport Authority should act immediately to address these omissions.

Source: http://www.todayonline.com/Voices/ED...hese-omissions

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Old 2nd November 2012, 03:51 PM   #13 (permalink)
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All bus departure times to be shown at every interchange soon

All bus departure times to be shown at every interchange soon

From Helen Lim
Director, Media Relations & Public Education, Land Transport Authority
04:45 AM Nov 02, 2012


We refer to Mr Mak Seck Hong's letter "Time for LTA to act on these omissions" (Oct 27).

Departure times for service 173 and services 167, 176 and 851 are not displayed at Clementi and Bukit Merah interchanges, respectively, because the public transport operators have different IT systems.

The Land Transport Authority is already working with both operators to have all bus departure times displayed at all interchanges soon. We thank Mr Mak for the feedback.

Source: http://www.todayonline.com/Voices/ED...terchange-soon

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