SMRT introduces six new Premium bus services; unveils new Mercedes Sprinters for BusPlus unit September 16, 2008Posted by hafizbam in Something New.
Tags: BusPlus, mercedes sprinter, premium bus service, SMRT
SMRT introduced a total of six new Premium bus services on Monday, 8 September 2008. Besides the usual routes heading towards the city, route 586 running from Bukit Panjang to Jurong East stood out as the only Premium bus service by SMRT (and perhaps, all other bus companies) to connect one HDB town with another.
The latest set of Premium bus services are:
586 – Bukit Panjang Ring Road, Choa Chu Kang Road to Jurong East
589 – Sunset Way, Clementi Avenue 2, West Coast Road to Fullerton Road
590 – Choa Chu Kang Crescent, North 6, North 5 to Orchard Road, Shenton Way
597 – Toa Payoh Lorong 2, 1 to Suntec City, Shenton Way
598 – Petir Road, Dairy Farm Crescent, Chestnut Drive to Orchard Road, Shenton Way
599 – Hougang Street 51, Serangoon North Avenue 4 to Church Street, Shenton Way
Despite the freehand planning and duplication allowed in the design of premium bus routes by the bus operators, evidence of PTC intervention in preventing excessive duplication surfaced this time round. Certain bus stops already served by premium bus services heading towards a particular destination are not allowed to be called at by another premium bus service introduced at a later date heading towards the same destination.
Examples include SMRT’s 590 which do not call at the bus stop opposite Yew Tee MRT station despite passing by it enroute, as the bus stop is already being served by SBS Transit’s 556 heading towards Shenton Way as well. SMRT’s 598 which utilises Clementi Avenue 2 to get to West Coast Road do not call at the two stops already served by SBST’s 532. Strangely though, it gets to call at the stops along West Coast Road already served by SBST’s 533.
SMRT also took the opportunity to introduce its latest vehicles to join its fleet of more than 800 buses – seven units of 20-seater Mercedes Sprinter minibuses painted in a new BusPlus livery, but still retaining its trademark dark green overall. These “minibuses” are actually elongated vans, the model itself having voted the best van model against a number of competitors in the industry. While Mercedes Sprinters have been used as buses elsewhere in the world, SMRT did not make any major alterations such as adding an electronic display on top of the buses commonly done by companies in Europe with such vehicles in their fleet to make them look more like buses instead of vans. Instead, it made use of smaller square electronic displays fitted inside the buses just like their current BusPlus Toyota Coasters.
So far, these Sprinters have been deployed on only routes 586, 589 and 598 as these routes, with the exception of the 586, ply on small narrow roads within landed property, where demand may also not warrant the deployment of the normal 12-metre bus. Besides, given SMRT’s focus of providing premium bus services in only areas with a high density of landed property, be it condominiums or bungalows, it would do itself good to expand its BusPlus unit over time.