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SMRT Premiums: A case of wrong focus? April 13, 2008

Posted by hafizbam in Something New.
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From the first day the announcement on the liberalisation of the premium bus services was announced by the PTC, almost all new bus services introduced since then are, well, premium ones with fares no lower than $2.70. Dominant market player ComfortDelGro has been successful with almost all of its services which make only a single trip every weekday morning (two of which have been planned for withdrawal).

Even SMRT has been seeing increasing ridership on its Premiums, notably its relatively new 530 and 531 which ironically do not serve areas under its own purview. Its latest – the much glorified 546 running from the new ERP charge area of Kallang/Geylang Bahru to Shenton Way, is also nowhere near its traditional northern territories. Instead, it’s SBS Transit who has been making inroads into Choa Chu Kang and Yishun with their latest premium routes. Nevertheless, SMRT’s latest applications to PTC to run 14 more routes might be what residents of the north have been looking forward to – and which might be one of the reasons for its recent major bus and service redeployments across all its three depots.

PTC processes more applications for premium bus services
By Wong Mun Wai, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 07 April 2008 2309 hrs

SINGAPORE: More premium bus services will soon be available as the Public Transport Council (PTC) processes 23 new applications from both public and private operators.

Currently there are 65 approved premium bus services, and 57 of them pass through Electronic Road Pricing gantries to take commuters to the central business district.

One of the new routes proposed runs from Bishan Street 22 to Shenton Way.

SMRT Buses has submitted 14 applications, while SBS Transit, which is run by ComfortDelGro, has filed five.

Four private operators, including Singapore Surfer, have also applied to provide premium bus services.

Many passengers are happy with the existing premium bus services, even though the fares are a little higher than those of the basic bus services.

A commuter said: “It’s faster and less crowded, and I can read my books here.”

“The (time needed) to get to the office is shorter by about 10 minutes. Otherwise if I take 107… it could be up to 45 minutes on the bus,” said another.

SMRT said it has seen a steady increase in the number of passengers on some of its premium bus services.

For example, both its 530 and 531 services saw the number of passengers almost doubling since the services were launched in August last year.

SMRT’s rival, ComfortDelGro, runs the bulk of premium bus services. On average, about 1,500 passengers use its premium bus services every day.

Quoted from Channelnewsasia.com: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/339943/1/.html

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