Express bus services help ease morning crowds

15 Oct 2018

By Matthew Loh

A commuter boards the Blue Loop Express opposite Hall of Residence 8.

Squeezing onto campus buses in the mornings may soon be a thing of the past for students, after four express bus services were introduced on Oct 1 as part of a trial to alleviate commuter crowds during peak hours.

On the morning of Oct 8, the Nanyang Chronicle observed that the Campus Loop and express buses arrived at the Lee Wee Nam Library bus stop at 3-minute intervals. All commuters also managed to find seats.

This is in contrast to the packed buses in the past that often had commuters standing up to their entrance and exit doors.

Gabriella Christiani, a second-year Computer Science and Engineering student, said she saved 10 minutes when she took an express bus from the bus stop at Saraca Hall to the North Spine.

“If it wasn’t for this express bus, I would have had to wait another 10 to 15 minutes for the next Campus Loop Red bus because the buses are usually full,” said the 19-year-old.

Heng Ming Ji, 20, a resident at Hall of Residence 10, said she was glad that one of the express bus services, which stops at her hall, skips heavy-traffic stops such as the one at Saraca Hall.

“When I am on the Campus Loop Red bus, I always see people struggling to get onboard at Saraca Hall. But when I took the express bus this morning, everyone had a seat on the bus,” she said.

The trial, which was introduced by the NTU Student Union (NTUSU) and the Office of Housing and Auxiliary Services (HAS), will last till the end of the semester and may be extended if it is successful.

These services run between 8.30am to 10.30am on weekdays along existing campus bus routes, but make fewer stops compared to the original bus routes.

Two currently run on the Campus Loop Red route. The first route begins at Hall of Residence 10 and make stops at Graduate Hall 1 and the Lee Wee Nam Library, while the second route starts from Saraca Hall and make stops at Hall 12 and the Lee Wee Nam Library.

Another express bus service runs along the Campus Loop Blue route, beginning at Hall 10 and making stops at Hall 8, Hall 6, Hall 4, Innovation Centre and the National Institute of Education.

From 4.45pm to 6.45pm on weekdays, there is also a two-stop Campus Rider express route, which shuttles between the Tan Chin Tuan lecture theatre and Pioneer MRT Station.

A spokesperson from NTUSU said that the express lines were drafted after a HAS survey identified bus stops that are often overcrowded during peak periods, such as the ones at the Saraca Hall, Hall 10, and the Innovation Centre.

The express routes aim to shorten waiting times, reduce the number of passengers on the main campus loop buses, and reduce travel time, added the spokesperson.

Students hopeful

Students hope that the express services will be a long-term solution to overcrowding on campus buses and at bus stops.

Sidney Yong, 21, a resident at Hall 10, said he was happy that two of the express routes stop at his hall.

The first-year student from the School of Materials Science and Engineering said: “When I go for my early morning class at South Spine on Thursdays, the Campus Loop Blue buses are always packed and (are) usually behind schedule.”

“Since the express lines stop at my hall, they will give students who stay here a smoother and quicker way to get to class.”

Tan Hao Wei, 22, a resident of Hall 13, said he hopes the express shuttle buses will arrive at regular intervals.

“If there are only a few express buses here and there, I don’t think much will change. The express buses will probably become just as crowded as the normal campus lines,” added the second-year Nanyang Business School student.

On Monday morning, the Nanyang Chronicle observed that there was about a 15-minute interval between each express bus at the bus stop at Hall 12 and 13.

NTUSU said it will continue to monitor the ground and gather feedback about the service to decide if it will continue next semester.