SMRT Premium 531 gets evening trips July 12, 2008Posted by hafizbam in Route Amendment, Something New.
Tags: east coast, Premium Bus, shenton way, simei, SMRT
Less than a year after being introduced, SMRT’s Premium 531 will now run two trips in the evenings from the CBD back to Upper East Coast and Simei, as a result of exceptionally high demand. The service, which started off in July 2007 as a weekday morning peak service offering two trips from Simei to Shenton Way, gradually saw a rapid increase in ridership despite itself competing with cheaper alternatives like SBST’s Fast Forward 10e which also heads to the same destination.
Before long, a third trip was added but even then, the three 12-metre Dennis Lance buses were filled with standing passengers, running foul of the PTC’s regulations on premium bus services which prohibit standing passengers (considering the fact that they paid a premium for these bus rides). As a result, SMRT decided to replace one of the rigids with a Bendy bus. TIB1081S of Ang Mo Kio Depot is shown above at Suntec City running the second trip. The situation however, surprisingly still did not improve and a final decision was taken to deploy four rigids at 5-minute intervals between 0750 and 0805 hours and that seemed to spread the loads evenly somewhat.
For a bus service that is much more expensive than the basic bus or train service, its high demand is quite remarkable and thus a decision was made to run two evening trips from June this year. At the same time, SMRT increased its fare from $3 to $4 “due to higher fuel prices”. While the morning crowd is not expected to thin down as a result, charging $4 for a ride home is quite expensive given that the office workers would not be in a similar rush home as they are in getting to work. This however, remains to be seen.