Annex 5 International Case Studies of Good Practice


Transportation, transport infrastructure and traffic in the island-state of Singapore is planned, managed and regulated under the Land Transport Authority (LTA), a statutory board under the Ministry of Transport. Singapore has invested heavily in metro (MRT), but also has a substantial bus supply. Bus services are regulated by the Public Transport Council (PTC) which was established in 1987 as an independent regulator for the sector. Three measures of good practice in Singapore are presented:

  • Service design by operators within parameters set by the authority
  • Quality appraisal
  • Integrated ticketing and information

Service Design by Operators within Parameters set by the Authority: Virtually all of the scheduled bus services are provided by two operating companies – SBS Transit and SMRT Transit – both of which also have MRT operations. In effect, the two operators have uncontested area franchises which they operate without subsidy. The issue facing the authorities is how to manage the balance of private and public interest, and how to ensure that there is a satisfactory level and quality of service without damaging the profitability of the bus operating companies.

The Public Transport Council has established “Quality of Service Standards”. These define the minimum standard of service to be provided by the bus operating companies in the areas for which they have been assigned operating rights. Operators may exceed the standards where they feel there is commercial advantage – and they do so in many cases – but they are not permitted to fall below the standard levels. The criteria which are controlled are:

1. Reliability

1.1 Scheduled bus trips operated on each bus service

1.2 Scheduled headway (frequency) upon departure at the bus interchanges and terminals

1.3 Bus breakdown rate on all bus services

2. Loading

2.1 Bus loading during weekday peak periods on each bus service

3. Safety

3.1 Accident rate on all bus services

4. Availability

4.1 Access to any bus service

4.2 Provision of direct bus service connections

4.3 Bus service operating hours

4.4 Bus service scheduled headways (frequencies)

5. Integration

5.1 Bus service integration in HDB Towns

6. Information

6.1 Availability of up-to-date information

The detailed criteria are presented in Annex 1 and are available on the PTC website.

Quality Appraisal: PTC analyses the service offer and arranges regular compliance audits and spot checks to ensure that the bus operating companies comply with their obligations. The PTC also intervenes when service lapses are detected, and directs the operators to take remedial action to address them.

In 2004, the PTC initiated the first Bus Passenger Satisfaction Survey to better determine the quality and expectation of bus services from the commuters’ viewpoint and to facilitate setting of new quality of bus service standards. Similar surveys had since been conducted by the PTC in 2005 and 2006. The PTC’s Bus Passenger Satisfaction Survey was replaced by the LTA’s Public Transport Customer Satisfaction Survey. Commissioned by the LTA in November 2006, this survey measures commuters’ satisfaction with public transport services and involves both the public bus and rail services, measuring 10 service attributes (1 represents ‘not important’ and 10 represents ‘very important’). These attributes include:

i) General level of service;

ii) Waiting time;

iii) Reliability;

iv) Service information;

v) MRT Station/Bus interchange, bus-stop accessibility/location;

vi) Comfort;

vii) Travel time;

viii) Staff customer service;

ix) Fare and level of service; and

x) Safety protection and security.

Results of the survey have revealed that eight in 10 (84%) respondents were satisfied with bus and rail services in Singapore. For bus commuters, accessibility/location, safety and security and comfort were ranked as the top 3 service attributes that they were most satisfied with. The PTC has taken these findings into account in the setting of the QoS standards for basic bus services.

Integrated Ticketing and Information: The transport operators are independent commercial firms. Full integration of the passenger transport is a goal of the LTA, so that the MRT and the LRT combine their services to provide a single planned network. TransitLink is a special-purpose organisation which was established to achieve this. It is owned by the transport operating companies and is licensed by the PTC to provide ticketing services. Integration is achieved by:

  • Fare Integration: TransitLink partners with EZLink to provide the smart-card based integrated ticketing, which allows common ticketing across modes and services, and handles rebates among the operators for transfer trips. TransitLink is also the master load agent of EZLink to manage all topping-up of value.
  • Information Integration: TransitLink provides the comprehensive multi-mode passenger information, in particular through the journey planner, timetables and service information on the TransitLink website, through printed timetables, and through information panels at bus stops and stations.
  • Network Integration: TransitLink’s provides the central planning and coordination of the bus network. The key criteria are to be complementary to the MRT and LRT systems, to reduce wasteful duplication of services, and to improve the use of transport resources.

TransitLink has developed a Customer Charter to advise all customers of the ticket services provided by TransitLink, and the service standards to which TransitLink is committed.

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