Singapore will open its public bus services to more operators in the second half of this year to foster competition and improve the service standards in the city-state.
In a move that will end a long-held duopoly of SBS Transit and SMRT Corp, authorities will allow bus operators to bid for the right to run services based on the routes and standards laid out by the local Land Transport Authority.
“This new industry model will enable the government to make public bus services more responsive to changes in ridership and commuter needs, as well as inject more competition into the industry,” the authority said in a statement, according to a Bloomberg report.
The public bus industry overhaul comes as Singapore grapples with increased population and an overcrowded transport system. A 1996 transport system white paper had planned for a population of 4 million by 2030, but the city-state’s population is now already at about 5.3 million, Bloomberg noted.
A government report last year had estimated that the population may reach 6.9 million by 2030.
Under the new model, buses will have to run at a minimum interval of 15 minutes during the morning and evening peak hours, with half of those routes reduced to less than 10 minutes. Authorities estimate that 45 percent of bus services will have shorter waiting times.
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