Bus-hailing app in Singapore could become a reality as LTA seeks bidders

The Land Transport Authority of Singapore is eyeing to develop and Uber-like tech for hailing public buses.

Singapore launches shuttle bus service between Changi Airport, Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal
Picture for representation Reuters (Representational Image)

Soon, Singapore commuters may be able to use their mobile phones not just to hail private cars and cabs but also buses.

The Land Transport Authority has called a tender to seek proposals from industry players to trial dynamically-routed public bus services.

The trial will help the transport authority to examine the feasibility of operating public bus services based on real-time commuter demand along dynamic routes.

"Through a mobile application, commuters will be able to request pick-ups and drop-offs at any bus stop within a defined operating area," LTA explained in a statement.

The goal of the this is to provide better and more customised bus services with shorter waiting time.

The LTA will also look into how such service could optimise resources and operating costs in areas and periods with low ridership.

The trials will commence in three predetermined areas comprising of Joo Koon, Punggol North/West, and Shenton Way/Marina South.

LTA noted that these areas have low demand during off-peak hours.

The transport authority expects participants to submit their proposal for on-demand, dynamically-routed night bus services, in place of existing night bus services with fixed timetables and routes.

The tender will be in two phases. Successful tenderers by Q4 will conduct modelling and simulation to test quality and resource requirements.

The subsequent phase will see incumbent bus operators test and calibrate software and hardware solutions by the successful tenderers.

Whilst the first phase is gradually rolled out, LTA will be working with operators and communities to and introduce the new scheme.

Commenting on the matter, LTA Group Director for Public Transport Yeo Teck Gun stated that regulator will continue to run the regularly scheduled bus services at a reduced frequency for commuters who are not able to keep up with this new form of service.

He furthered that data analytics and mobile application technology have revolutionised the way Singaporeans we travel.

"This tender will allow us to explore if such technology could also be applied to public bus services to deliver better services to commuters, and also to optimise precious resources. We welcome feedback and ideas on this endeavour," he said.