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     FrontPage Edition: Wed 24 January 2007

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PTC revises premium bus service scheme



The Public Transport Council (PTC) is pleased to announce the introduction of the revised premium bus service scheme.
This is part of the government¡¯s on-going review to make public transport a choice mode.
With effect from 1 Feb 2007, the PTC will consider granting more bus service licences to operators that offer premium bus services to commuters who are prepared to pay a higher fare for a superior level of bus service such as a more direct and comfortable journey.
Providing more choices for public transport users
The PTC has completed its review of its current premium bus service scheme. The aim is to encourage more such services, thereby providing more choices for the public transport users.
Under the premium bus service scheme, there is no restriction on the routes that bus operators may run. They may also call at existing bus stops, subject to bus stop capacity and traffic operation considerations.
For a period of not more than two years from the approval of a new premium bus service, the PTC will consider granting licences to at most two other premium bus services serving similar destinations.
The pick-up points of these services may overlap the pick-up points of the approved new premium bus service by not more than 20%. This is to recognise the first mover¡¯s investment in resources to conduct market research and to come up with a new premium bus service route.
COE-exempted buses (i.e. omnibuses or school buses) may be used to operate premium bus services. The licence for a premium bus service is for a maximum of two years and it may be renewed upon expiry, subject to the PTC¡¯s approval.
Premium bus services are positioned as niche services distinct from basic bus services, and have to meet the following requirements:

(a) Operates only with air-conditioned buses;

(b) All passengers must have a seat; and

(c) Fares are at least 1.5 times the equivalent fare of basic public transport services.

The changes made to the current guidelines are shown in Annex A.
Feedback are considered in the review
In the review, the PTC took note of commuters¡¯ preferences that were gathered in its annual passenger satisfaction surveys.
In the 2006 bus passenger satisfaction survey, one in five (20.1%) of the respondents who took buses had indicated that they would prefer better service at higher fares.
This suggests that there is scope for greater service and fare differentiation to meet the needs of diverse commuter segment. Feedback from the bus operators were also taken into account in the review process.
Mr Gerard Ee, Chairman of the PTC, said:
"We hope to see more premium bus services coming on-stream to complement basic public transport services and provide more choices for commuters. Our goal is to attract more people to use public transport and make it a choice mode of travel.
"In undertaking the review, the PTC considered commuters¡¯ preferences as well as industry feedback. We have simplified and published the guidelines. The PTC will continue to review and adjust the guidelines as we go along.
"In short, this premium bus scheme presents an excellent opportunity for bus operators to come up with innovative service offerings to better serve the different market segments. We welcome bus operators to come forward with their proposals."
Bus operators can apply to the PTC to operate premium bus services under the revised scheme. Bus service licence application forms are available for download at the PTC¡¯s website at
No application fee is required for the premium bus service application. In evaluating the application, the PTC will consider the general financial standing of the applicant and his ability to maintain an adequate, satisfactory, safe and efficient service.
More..... (Annex A)

Source: Media Release 22 Jan 2007

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