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Increased coverage for SMRT bus 922 in Bukit Panjang town February 27, 2010

Posted by hafizbam in Bus, Route Amendment, SMRT.
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Mercedes Benz OC500LE on service 922.

Service 922 will no longer serve the bus stops along Saujana Road, as illustrated above. Photo credit: Muhd Faizal.

SMRT has finally seemed to realise the ridicule in running a feeder bus service half-heartedly – and still losing money in the process – and is instead making a radical change to feeder bus service 922 serving residents of Bukit Panjang town.

The route amendment, to take effect from Sunday 28 February, will see the service cover the whole stretch of Jelapang Road (Greenridge Shopping Centre), Segar Road and Fajar Road (Fajar Neighbourhood Shopping Centre) before looping in the same manner as service 920 at Bangkit Road.

The change will see residents jumping for joy as they now have convenient bus links to places which are previously bus-less or just served by the (still unprofitable) Bukit Panjang LRT system, such as the Fajar neighbourhood shopping centre. Segar Road residents will enjoy a direct link to the market and shops at Bangkit Road as well as the prominent Al-Iman mosque.

The most important question though would be: would the frequency of the bus service, currently at half hour intervals or longer, be improved? That remains to be seen, but what is already known is that one more bus would join TIB737R as part of the 922 fleet and so this should be seen as something positive. Unless of course, this whole route change is yet another half-hearted service “improvement”  aimed at appeasing some quarters (like the MP perhaps?).

Click here for the press release poster.

SMRT axes Premium bus service 597 November 8, 2009

Posted by hafizbam in Premium Bus, Route Amendment, SMRT.
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When Premium 597 was launched, I laughed. It looked more like a desperate attempt by SMRT to break into the Toa Payoh market than anything else. SBS Transit was already, and still is, running Premium 535 which sensibly serves most parts of the estate that matters.

And so I am definitely not surprised to see it walking into history in a couple of days.

SMRT Premium 597 will make its swansong journey from Toa Payoh to Shenton Way this Friday, 13th November 2009. A wicked choice of date 🙂

To view the press release, click here.

SBS Transit Premium buses to use Cecil Street October 4, 2009

Posted by hafizbam in Route Amendment, SBS Transit.
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SBS Transit Premium buses will no longer serve Robinson Road.

SBS Transit Premium buses will no longer serve Robinson Road.

In a move that is likely to reduce journey time and reduce congestion along Robinson Road, SBS Transit will be amending the route of all its 21 Premium bus services to serve Cecil Street instead of Robinson Road from Monday 5 October 2009.

As a result, the buses will call at three new bus stops along Anson Road and Cecil Street, but skip four bus stops along Robinson Road and outside Hub Synergy Point.

Whether this change will result in more smiles or frowns (from those who have to walk further to their offices as a result) remains to be seen.

Click here for the press release.

Singapore F1 Night Race: Road Access & Public Transport Guide September 14, 2009

Posted by hafizbam in Bus, Miscellaneous, Route Amendment, SBS Transit, SMRT, Transport Events.
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F1

Essential information on F1 road closures and public transport changes from 23rd to 29th September:

Land Transport Authority Press Release
Road Access & Public Transport Guide
SBS Transit train and bus services during F1 NEW!
SBS Transit bus service updates during F1
SMRT train, bus and taxi services during F1 NEW!
SMRT train service extension schedule during F1 NEW!

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With less than two weeks left to the much anticipated Formula 1 night race at Singapore’s Marina Bay, much preparations for the event have been carried out, including joint press releases for bus service diversions by both SBS Transit and SMRT – one of the few instances where collaboration between the two is much appreciated.

As per last year, there will be similar road closures around the area. Buses will be diverted to ply the fringes of Suntec City; the nearest alternative convenient stops being those around North Bridge Road and Raffles City. There will also be special free bridging shuttle bus services connecting the Suntec City and Marina Square shopping centres to the nearest MRT stations at Bugis and City Hall, though you would be better off walking through the CityLink Mall.

And as always, SBS Transit will run special feeder bus services in selected housing estates to complement the last train timings.

Quoted from the LTA press release:

Public Transport

Q1. What are the public transport options available during the road closure period?
A
The public transport system will continue to operate during the period of the road closure. The capacity of the MRT will be able to cope with the increase in numbers turning to the trains as a mode of transport during the period of the closure, although during peak periods some passengers may not be able to board the first train that arrives. LTA and the MRT Operators will monitor the train passenger loadings closely and make adjustments where possible.

Basic bus services serving the Marina Bay area will be diverted to ply the fringes of road closures. For the convenience of public assessing Marina Bay area, a free bridging bus service will be provided to connect City Hall and Bugis MRT stations to the area from 23 to 29 September 2009.

Q2. Which public bus services will be affected? What are their diverted routes?
A
A total of 27 basic bus services will be affected by the road closures. These bus services will be diverted either to parallel routes or to the fringe of the road closures, such as the bus stops closest to the Suntec City / Marina Centre area that will continue to be accessible during the road closure. For commuters going to the Suntec City / Marina Centre area, the average walking distance is about 600-800 metres, and less than 400 metres via the free bridging shuttle bus service.

Q3. Will there be an increase in frequency of the MRT services to and from City Hall and Raffles Place MRT stations? Is this a safe frequency to operate at?
A
We expect that there will be sufficient capacity to handle any increase in ridership from the road closures. However, as the NSEWL is already running at maximum capacity during the weekday peak-within-peak period of about half an hour in the mornings and evenings, commuters may experience some difficulty in boarding the first train to arrive at their station during the peak-within-peak periods. They should be able to board the next train, after a 2 to 3-minute wait.

For the other times of the weekdays as well as during the race weekend, LTA is working with the PTOs to run more train trips where possible to increase passenger capacity of our train network. LTA and the MRT Operators will also monitor the train passenger loadings closely and make adjustments where possible.

Our train systems are designed to operate safely at the planned frequencies.  

Bridging service

Q4 What frequency will the bridging bus run at? Is this enough to cope with the expected increase in commuter traffic?
A
The bridging service was planned to be operated at a frequency of 10 to 12 minutes if traffic enroute permits. As it would be faster on foot for most destinations in Marina Bay area, the bridging service will offer an alternative for the public, especially the elderly and those travelling with young children.

Reinstatement of Paya Lebar Road; services affected: 24, 28, 43, 70, 70M, 76, 135, 154 & 155 August 22, 2009

Posted by hafizbam in Miscellaneous, Route Amendment, SBS Transit.
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Regular commuters of southbound bus services at the bus stop outside the Singapore Post Centre building at Paya Lebar will no longer enjoy such doorstep convenience to the postal centre, as bus services will be reinstated to ply the original stretch of Paya Lebar Road which is open from tomorrow.

They will have to board/alight at the new bus stop outside Paya Lebar MRT station which is at the other end of the station from Singapore Post.

Affected services are 24, 28, 43, 70, 70M, 76, 135, 154 and 155. In addition, services 70 and 70M will no longer call at the bus stop outside City Plaza along Geylang Road.

Refer to the press release here.

Parks 408 now serves Telok Blangah estate March 21, 2009

Posted by hafizbam in Route Amendment, SBS Transit.
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parks408

Residents of Telok Blangah estate finally got their direct bus link to nearby HarbourFront – but with strings attached. SBS Transit’s Parks service 408 has been recently amended to serve Henderson Road, Depot Road and Alexandra Road enroute to Labrador Park.

Besides the primary aim of providing a dedicated bus link to the new Southern Ridges attraction of Henderson Waves and Alexandra Arch bridges, the service has been made to serve Telok Blangah Heights, Telok Blangah Drive and Telok Blangah Drive on its return journey to HarbourFront. This estate last received a boost shortly after the opening of the company’s Northeast MRT line, with a direct link to Chinatown following the amendment of service 124.

While this results in a longer journey for those heading to the seaside park, the flat fare of $1 remains unchanged. This is both good and bad news, as Labrador parkgoers would not be penalised, but residents of Telok Blangah would have to pay a premium for a ride which they could be paying less for, if only service 408 is a basic bus service.

In addition, while the direct link to HarbourFront is welcomed, it is only one-directional. Those from HarbourFront would not be able to access the estate in the direction towards Labrador Park. Furthermore, this connection to VivoCity is only available on weekends. The stated frequency of half hour intervals is also a drawback.

It would have been better had SBS introduce a dedicated feeder bus service connecting HarbourFront with this part of Telok Blangah estate, possibly serving Telok Blangah Way enroute to ensure sufficient demand.

Overall, I expect this route to remain as it is even after the six months trial period as stated in the publicity poster, unless residents of Telok Blangah really do shun this service for the reasons stated above.

Separately, three other Parks branded services, namely services 400, 401 and 403, have been declassified as such. In other words, they have now returned to what they once were – plain old basic bus services with the obligation to stick to the Public Transport Council’s Quality of Service standards. Something for the commuting public to cheer about.

While it is understandable for services 401 and 403 to be classified as Parks services (401 serving East Coast Park; 403 serving Pasir Ris Park), I have never agreed with the conversion of service 400 to a Parks service in the first place as its primary aim back then was to provide the one and only bus link to the old popular steamboat makan place at Marina South.

Regardless, both the park and makan attractions have now made way for the new Marina Bay Sands integrated resort, rendering the service rather useless.

parks_declassification