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Tower Transit buses slower but safer: Commuters

SINGAPORE — New public transport operator Tower Transit’s first day of managing the working crowds went smoothly yesterday, with passengers being impressed by improvements in service, such as drivers being more personable and patient.

A Tower Transit bus in service. Photo: Jason Quah

A Tower Transit bus in service. Photo: Jason Quah

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SINGAPORE — New public transport operator Tower Transit’s first day of managing the working crowds went smoothly yesterday, with  passengers being impressed by improvements in service, such as drivers being more personable and patient.

The buses were also moving at a less frantic pace, said passengers, who felt their journey was more comfortable and safer as a result.

During their trips, bus drivers were also seen communicating with the operations control centre over the radio frequently to regulate headway.

Mr Jumali Sapan, 52, a driving instructor, was one of those who noticed their journeys being “a little slower”.

“But it’s good because safety must always come first ... What’s also important is that the drivers stop when passengers flagged (them down),” he added, noting that he has come across drivers who skip stops even though the bus was not full.

Undergraduate Teo Wei Shen, 22, who has been a bus enthusiast for almost 10 years, also said he noticed a longer travelling time. “I won’t mind if the ride is smoother but slower, (although) when I am in a hurry, I’d expect the bus to be fast,” he added.

When TODAY visited the Bukit Batok Bus Interchange at 8am yesterday, ushers were stationed at the bus bays, signalling to bus captains to wait for passengers who were rushing to board. Tower Transit personnel were also on hand, making sure the buses kept to departure timings.

Yesterday marked the second day of operations for Singapore’s third public transport operator, as part of the new government contracting model for the public bus industry.

Service numbers 77, 106, 173, 177, 189, 941, 945, 947 and 990 — run by SMRT previously — have been taken over by the UK-based bus operator as part of a phased roll-out of the Bulim bus package, operating from Bukit Batok, Clementi and Jurong East interchanges. Tower Transit will run 17 more services later this month, on June 12 and June 26.

Tower Transit deployed 94 buses on the roads yesterday, up from the 62 on its first day on Sunday.

Asked how the operator could improve further, assistant producer Fazila Zailani, 20, noted that previously, the drivers were familiar faces she sees every day on her way to work and they would exchange greetings.

“Tower Transit can differentiate itself by making the bus captains feel more familiar to us, and to have better soft skills because I actually like it when the bus captains are able to communicate with the passengers boarding the bus,” she said. 

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