Friday 23 November 2012

New bus service between Jurong West & CBD to launch in 2013

Channel NewsAsia, 21 Nov 2012

Commuters travelling between Jurong West and the Central Business District (CBD) during peak periods will be served by a new City Direct bus service, to be rolled out under the Bus Service Enhancement Programme (BSEP) in the third quarter of 2013.

City Direct will provide a direct alternative for Jurong West train commuters travelling to the CBD.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said with limited stops and the use of the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE), the journey time by City Direct is expected to be comparable to taking a feeder service and transferring to a MRT train to the city.

The new service will operate on weekday mornings, excluding public holidays, during peak hours from Jurong West to the city.

In the evening peak hours, the service will operate the return trip from the city to Jurong West.

Details of the new route are being worked out and are expected to be finalised in December 2012.

The LTA will call a tender in December, when the route is finalised, to invite private bus operators to submit their cost proposals for the new bus service.

The tendering process will allow the most cost-efficient operator to win operation rights for the service.

The move follows the government's announcement at the Committee of Supply 2012 to explore the feasibility of engaging private bus operators to run selected aspects of the BSEP on a limited scale during peak hours to complement BSEP capacity improvements to existing bus services.

To support City Direct, LTA is calling a tender on Wednesday, for the provision of a private bus operator payment system to support fare collection for the new service.

Managing director of BusHub Service, Mr Anilan, told Channel NewsAsia that he expects to see some competition among private bus operators as some of them have been waiting to offer such a service.

He said his company - which has been offering premium bus services - is keen to put in a bid, but will wait for details of the tender before making a decision.

He said: "I am waiting to see the details of how this will be done. We have always been keen to explore this, quite a (few) operators have been waiting to see the details of this, in terms of how they are going to implement it and operating requirements."

He added that when more operators are brought in to compete for routes, this will push improvements in service which will benefit commuters.

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