On-Demand Public Buses That Behave Like Taxis Will Begin Trials This Dec

LTA Begins On-Demand Public Buses Trial For 6 Months

If you like having Grab cars and taxis at your beck-and-call, you’ll love Land Transport Authority’s (LTA) new pilot for public buses.

On-demand public buses – aka buses that cater to your pick-up and drop-off requests – will begin plying Singapore’s roads this December, said LTA on Monday (27 Aug).


Here’s all you need to know about the new service.

Buses work just like Grab

Most Singaporeans who stay in more ulu areas served by infrequent buses can testify to the irritating and arduous waits for transport.


On-demand public buses will optimise these routes by mapping out the most efficient journey for drivers to take, especially in areas or timings with “low or unpredictable ridership”.

Pick-up & drop-off at any bus stop

Geo-fencing will also be used to contain the area covered by the system.

So you’ll be able to ‘order a bus’, just like you order a taxi on Grab — even during off-peak hours.

Via a mobile app, commuters will be able to send requests for pick-up and drop-offs at any bus stop “within a defined area”.

$2.26 million project

Two companies, Ministry of Movement (SWAT) and Via Transportation will be operating these trials.

If all goes well, we can bid our long waits for buses on more ulu routes goodbye, as drivers are now able to detect demand in real-time using the app.

A dynamic routing and matching algorithm has already been developed successfully by both companies in the first trial phase.

With the passenger data collected during the Dec trials, developers will be able to work on fine-tuning the back-end monitoring tools & mobile app for drivers and commuters.

Once trials have been completed, this service will probably be rolled out to all public service bus providers, including SMRT, SBS and Tower Transit.

Still prefer regular buses?

Those who are worried about regular bus services being delayed, fret not.

Low-demand bus services with similar routes will still be running, albeit at lower frequencies during the trial.

Stay tuned for more details like locations and operating hours available, to be announced in Dec.

Smart buses for efficient rides

As of right now, buses do seem like a more reliable mode of public transportation than our trains.

So we would take any effort to improve services even more, especially if it means bettering our public transport infrastructure in general.

Hopefully the trial goes off without a hitch, and we’ll be able to get to Orchard in under an hour by bus, even if we stay at far-flung Boon Lay.

Featured image from Land Transport Authority on Facebook.

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