The future of the fixed route bus is hanging in the balance. Here’s how to fix it.
Multimedia

How do bus drivers get to work? In Singapore, they hail a ride.

Frustrated with the limitations of an inflexible legacy system, one of Singapore’s leading public transport operators decided to give employees a new kind of commute.

The thriving metropolis of Singapore has seen remarkable growth in recent decades. In line, the country’s public transit has also seen consistent growth over the past fifteen years. Bus ridership alone grew 1.5 percent in 2019, averaging over 4 million trips per day, thanks, in part, to an overall population growth of 1.2 percent that year. 

With so many people moving around, the nation’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) entrusts its public buses to a few different contractors, including Go-Ahead Singapore. The transportation operator manages 26 bus services out of the Loyang Bus Depot, situated near the eastern tip of the island. As those tasked with transporting millions of people to and from work every day, Go-Ahead Singapore’s drivers are only too familiar with the stresses of a big-city commute. Many of these drivers get to and from the depot for their shifts via a network of employee-only bus services running multiple trips during peak commuter hours. 

Towards the end of 2018, Go-Ahead zeroed in on a need to increase the efficiency of this employee service and elevate the quality for bus drivers. Enter: EB Ride, a service that  allows employees to book rides in advance through an easy-to-use app, and makes traveling efficient once on the bus. 

EB Ride, launched in March of 2019, is a dynamically-routed commuter bus service for exclusive use by Go-Ahead Singapore employees. Users can download the EB Ride App (iOS and Android) and enter their company-provided login credentials. The service is free and users simply enter their origin and destination, one of which must be the Loyang Bus Depot. The app then provides each rider with a pick-up time and location. 

Bookings can be made up to two weeks in advance and EB Ride’s intelligent routing algorithm matches riders traveling around the same time and location in order to minimize stops and decrease wait and travel time. In addition to this on-demand, fully dynamic functionality, users are able to track the location of their bus in real-time through the app. 

EB Ride is a service built to suit the individual needs of employees, providing a stress-free, seamless transportation experience that keeps drivers relaxed and ready for the day ahead. 

Image courtesy of Land Transport Guru

EB Ride, which operates between the depot and the residential areas of Punggol, Pasir Ris, and Changi Village in eastern Singapore, has been adopted by one-third of Go-Ahead Singapore employees who regularly rely on employee bus services. In December 2019, EB Ride expanded its service zone by 2000% to serve 385 square kilometers (over half of the island’s total area) and tripled its fleet from three to nine buses, yet the service still maintains 100% on-time arrivals to work. 

In operation for a little over a year, EB Ride has already proven beneficial for everyone involved. Operations Director Gavin Smith lauded the service, specifically noting that EB Ride buses “serve areas that our fixed-line services don’t reach, and have pickup/dropoff points that are closer to home!” 

And for the employee perspective? One review on the Google store puts it best: “At last, I can wake up late for morning shift.” With EB Ride, Go-Ahead Singapore’s bus drivers are able to arrive at work every day fully rested and prepared to focus on providing a safe, efficient, and affordable transportation option for all.

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