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Old 8th July 2008, 06:59 AM   #1 (permalink)
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NightRider and Nite Owls

NightRider and Nite Owls
By Leong Wee Keat, TODAY | Posted: 07 July 2008 1113 hrs


SINGAPORE : For the past eight years, they have rescued nightbirds and provided party-goers and nightshift workers a cheaper alternative to get home after hours.



Now, while demand is on the up for one operator and fares have been increased for the first time by the other, night bus services here are at a crossroads.

Regular users of these services TODAY spoke to want the services to be extended to Sundays and public holidays, frequencies shortened and more routes to be added.

But improvements are unlikely to be on the horizon, industry observers say.

The two existing operators, SBS Transit and SMRT, are currently short of drivers and fuel costs have risen. Smaller bus operators, meanwhile, are also not keen to cash in on this growing segment.

While ridership has been “fairly stable over the years” for SMRT, SBS Transit has seen ridership doubled from about a year ago, to about 1,000 each night.

“The Nite Owl services are increasingly becoming more popular with commuters and ridership is rising every month,” SBS Transit spokeswoman Tammy Tan told TODAY.

“This is partly due to population growth as well as a buoyant economy which has led to more malls and retail outlets extending their operating hours on Fridays, Saturdays and even on public holidays.”

In May, operator SMRT increased fares on their seven NightRider services by 50 cents to $3.50. The fare adjustment — the first since the services were rolled out in 2000 — was to mitigate an increase of costs, said a SMRT spokesperson. SBS Transit’s services remain at $2.50 and $3 if you pay by ez-link payment and cash respectively.

According to both operators, commuters who frequent the bus services are mainly teenagers and young adults returning home after a night out, and workers performing late shifts. Current night bus services run on Fridays, Saturdays and eves of public holidays from 11.30pm to 4.35am. They connect the downtown areas, like Orchard and Marina, to major residential areas, such as Ang Mo Kio, Woodlands, Jurong West and Pasir Ris.

With taxi fares rising last December, night buses have become a cheaper way to travel home for some commuters.

Polytechnic student Jeremy Teo, who works part-time at a pub in Clarke Quay, saves about $12 in taxi fares when he catches a nightrider service to his home at Yio Chu Kang. “It is definitely cheaper if you don’t mind the wait,” said the 19-year-old, who counts a 30-minute wait as his longest.

The long wait is often cited by commuters for giving the night bus a miss. Another common complaint is that buses occasionally miss passengers who could have been waiting at bus stops away from the city centre.

Store assistant Koh Ee Meng, who waited at Tiong Bahru Road during Christmas Eve last year, gave up on his 25 minute wait after a bus failed to stop as he tried to flag it down. “I was tired and didn’t want to risk being missed by another bus,” he said.

There are a total of 15 night bus services, running at intervals of 16 to 30 minutes, plying the roads now. During the service’s peak in 2001, there were at least 22 night bus services on the roads.

Under the current bus service licensing framework, night buses are classified by the Public Transport Council as “Basic-Plus bus services”. Unlike premium bus services, the “Basic-Plus bus services” are operated by two basic bus operators, SMRT and SBS Transit, and the routes generally fall within the basic bus service operators’ area of responsibility.

Given that smaller bus operators are entering the premium bus market, will they be keen, if invited, to run night buses?

Unlikely, said those TODAY spoke to. The industry is facing a severe shortage of bus drivers, said Bus Hub director Mr V Anilan.

“Everyone wants an eight-to-five job. It is already tough getting drivers now and will be even more difficult if you want them to work in the graveyard shift,” he said.

In 2001, members of the Singapore School Transport Association were roped in to provide bus services during the Chinese New Year period, said chairman Wong Ann Lin. But he would not encourage his members to enter the business. Many of his members are already driving in the day so safety will be an issue if they do double shifts, he said.

So, will the existing two operators expand their services? “We will introduce more Nite Owl services if there is demand,” said SBS Transit’s Ms Tan. For SMRT, the operator’s spokesperson said it is always looking for ways to serve commuters better, pointing to an extension of two NightRider services to HarbourFront last year to serve patrons of St James Power Station.

Assistant Professor Terence Fan of the Singapore Management University’s Lee Kong Chian School of Business feels that both operators should still be able to increase frequencies for the night buses.

“Some other round-the-clock service-oriented industries do offer some shift allowances for night shifts. That could be an enhancements for bus drivers. If more passengers are taking the service, that should help the operators pay,” he said. - TODAY/sh

Source: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stori...358700/1/.html

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Old 8th July 2008, 07:44 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: NightRider and Nite Owls

Used to take last time, now no more late nights for me.

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Old 8th July 2008, 10:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: NightRider and Nite Owls

nvr take before Nite Owl.

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Old 8th July 2008, 10:42 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: NightRider and Nite Owls

for me i took before from clark quey to clementi before.. NR was much faster as it goes on a MRT track way.. but aft that to jurong is a long long journey... so i will stop at clementi and cab home.. save more time.. the nite owl goes to town then from there dunno turn where then reach clementi... very slow

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Old 9th July 2008, 02:51 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: NightRider and Nite Owls

never take before. believe the time took to travel along the journey pretty long..so i would rather take cab..~~Destiny

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Old 9th July 2008, 02:56 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: NightRider and Nite Owls

nv tke b4.. but .. it's realli a long journey i heard.. so i rather tke cab home faster.. cos tel miie to tke a long journey bus.. i'll fall aslp .. and mayb for a long way and i missed my stop.. =/ .. lols..

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Old 9th July 2008, 03:38 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: NightRider and Nite Owls

these Nite Owls, Nite Riders buses only availbale durin wkends/public holidays rite???

normal wkdays dun haf????


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Old 9th July 2008, 03:55 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: NightRider and Nite Owls

Originally Posted by davidkwankk View Post
these Nite Owls, Nite Riders buses only availbale durin wkends/public holidays rite???

normal wkdays dun haf????

dun have.cauz it serve ppl who go to clubs all these de.

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Old 11th July 2008, 02:30 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: NightRider and Nite Owls

I take this NightRider back to home. Cheaper than taking Taxi.

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Old 24th July 2008, 07:16 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: NightRider and Nite Owls

I take nightrider once in a blue moon where i plan to watch late night movie and play lan gaming. Nightrider is only available fri and sat.

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Old 24th July 2008, 07:23 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: NightRider and Nite Owls

i take it often, thought it's slower then taxi....but i save over 10bucks...so why not?
i hope they will serve on wed night too

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Old 24th July 2008, 08:18 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: NightRider and Nite Owls

nightrider for me no use cauz got other buses

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Old 6th August 2008, 12:58 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: NightRider and Nite Owls

i always take 4N go home to Bedok as it only takes 25 mins.. i took b4 NR7 n i took me more than an hour..

I feel that SBS Transit Nite Owl services are more direct as it dont ply every single of the mRT Stations.. Whereas, SMRT NIghtrider goes all the way from Bugis to Pasir Ris and turnung to Bedok Reservoir somemore..

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Old 16th September 2008, 11:13 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: NightRider and Nite Owls

sit that bus once.. can save alot money better then sit taxi which cost alot alot..

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Old 16th September 2008, 11:17 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: NightRider and Nite Owls

Originally Posted by evo View Post
sit that bus once.. can save alot money better then sit taxi which cost alot alot..
50% mah.but some towns dun have NR and Niteowl.

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Old 17th September 2008, 12:41 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: NightRider and Nite Owls

i've never taken a night rider before... maybe i shd start eh?

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