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400 Non-Step Buses For Singapore

October 9th, 2008 - Thursday

400 more Scania buses ordered: StarMotoring - 5 October, 2008
400 more Scania buses ordered: StarMotoring – 5 October 2008

SBS Transit, Singapore’s leading public transport company, has ordered another 400 Scania buses in addition to the 500 units ordered in 2007.

All the buses will have bodywork produced by Gemilang Coachworks in Malaysia. Deliveries will begin early next year.

The buses are of the no-step low-floor type for quick and fast boarding/disembarkation; as well as allowing full wheel-chair access.”

SBS Transit of Singapore announced in 2006 that they are pushing ahead with the plan to make all new public buses low floor and step-free for the convenience of senior citizens and wheelchair users. For that year alone, 150 new non-step buses would be rolled out. Now the bus company is ordering another 400 non-step low floor buses that will be delivered beginning early next year.

Syarikat Prasarana Negara Berhad (SPNB) of Malaysia rolled out 100 low-floor non step buses some time in mid-2007. Until now, wheelchair users are still unable to ride in those buses. The reasons being that most of the bus stops in Klang Valley are not suitable or are inaccessible. No effort has been put in liaise with the municipal councils and other related agencies to renovate all the 4000 bus stops in stages to make them accessible to wheelchair users and suitable for the buses to deploy the ramps.

The thing with Malaysia is that the Ministry of Transport has very little say in legislating land-based public transport. The Ministry of Entrepreneurial And Co-operative Development through the Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board issues permits to public transport operators. The Ministry of Finance Inc. owns SPNB. SPNB is the asset owner of RapidKL and Rapid Penang’s buses. All in all, thirteen agencies are involved in one way or another in governing the industry. It is no wonder the public transportation system is such a havoc in Malaysia.


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5 Responses to “400 Non-Step Buses For Singapore”

  1. ivy says:

    It is a good thing that SBS Transit thought of its commuters. Even disabled commuters and old folks had an equall oppurtunity to commute. And also, they are aware of the environment.

    Peter:
    If only the Prasarana and RapidKL folks are reading this.

  2. Goodnail says:

    Even if the Prasarana and RapidKL (plus RapidPenang) folks read this, do you think they will do something? Fat hope!

    Peter:
    Shame on them if they do not.

  3. ex penang boy says:

    Presently only certain routes are considered wheelchair friendly and are plied by buses equipped for the purpose and trained bus captains.
    Occasionally, those specially equipped buses would be deployed for other routes but not allowed to pick up wheelchair passengers, which have raised the ire of some. The contention I suppose is that the routes are not as yet ascertained to be totally wheelchair friendly meaning all bus stops,all buses are designed for the task and bus captains properly trained.
    With an aging population, mobility will be an issue to all and its best to start planning early rather than having to tear down,sell off and rebuild and re-equip.

    Peter:
    Unfortunately, the people legislating and running the public transport system and corresponding infrastructure in Malaysia do not have such foresight. They see the usage of non-step buses limited only to wheelchair users. There is resistance all the way to roll out more non-step buses and to make the bus stops accessible. And in Malaysia, not planning now will benefit certain quarters when it is time to tear down, sell off, rebuild and re-equip.

  4. Ciana says:

    I agree with Goodnail. I think all they care is the profit. It’s a good thing that SBS Transport is thinking of everyone. The irony is that the buses “will have bodywork produced by a Malaysian company.” Can’t the Finance Ministry buck up now that PM has switched posts with the DPM? Or is corruption tying everyone’s hands? Or could it be they don’t care a single *censored* thing?

  5. eleanor says:

    Peter, I was sent this snippet of news on accessible buses in Singapore – http://sg.news.yahoo.com/cna/20081002/tap-744-wheelchair-friendly-cant-board-231650b.html

    I am still planning to come back at some point but it is not a good time to travel at present. Maybe we can both go and try them out if I do get there.

    Peter:
    Eleanor, I would love to. Do keep me updated. We need to have more people like you who have experience in such transport system to share and educate us as we begin to push for similar systems here.