Bus Interchanges and Terminals

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bus interchange or bus terminal is the start or end point of a bus route, and this definition can be extended to any layover point that does not cause an obstruction to traffic. In Singapore, a bus terminal with connections to other modes of transportation (such as the MRT) is known as a bus interchange. As of  LTA statistics, there are currently 22 bus interchanges and 16 bus terminals in operation.

The old Bukit Panjang Bus Interchange, demolished to make way for a new Integrated Public Transport Hub.

The old Bukit Panjang Bus Interchange, demolished to make way for a new Integrated Public Transport Hub.

Bus termini serve multiple roles in Singapore. They are used as layover points for various bus services, and regionalization of bus terminals allow for easy transfer between multiple bus services. Drivers may also swap buses at termini.

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History:

In the past, private bus companies built and operated their own bus termini. They were usually located along the roads and were plenty in number, adding to the difficulty of integrating various different bus routes. In the 1970s, smaller-scaled bus terminals were built, most of them by the Public Works Department (PWD) and the Housing and Development Board (HDB). The private bus companies would then rent these terminals for thousands of dollars per month.

In the late seventies, the construction of new towns resulted in the idea of regional bus interchanges to take over the roles of the bus terminals. This would improve efficiency and reduce overlapping of bus services. In 1978, the Jurong Bus Interchange became Singapore’s first bus interchange. The early bus interchanges were mainly shared by the SBS, TIBS, SSB and Scheme B bus operators. Until the completion of the Woodlands Bus Interchange in 1996 by the Mass Rapid Transit Corporation (MRTC), all the early bus interchanges were designed and built by the Housing and Development Board (HDB), which was also the main architect of bus stops and other facilities for the public transport.

With the construction of the MRT in the 1980s, bus transport in Singapore slowly adapted in favor of centralised bus interchanges that provide connections to the MRT, with the use of multiple feeder bus services to link up different parts of new towns with MRT stations.

In the modern era, bus interchanges were further redesigned to provide greater comfort and integration. Toa Payoh and Sengkang Bus Interchanges were among the first to be fully air-conditioned and fully integrated with their basement MRT stations. Sengkang Interchange was also the first to integrate residential development with bus interchanges by the use of fully enclosed bus interchanges, i.e. the entire interchange occupies the ground floors of the building, a concept previously used extensively in land-starved Hong Kong. Integrated Public Transport Hubs have been built at Ang Mo Kio, Serangoon, Boon Lay and Clementi, and more are expected to be completed in 10 years, such as Bukit Panjang, Bedok, Hougang, Joo Koon, Jurong East, Marina South and Yishun.

Today, bus interchanges are designed and constructed by the Land Transport Authority (LTA), but are managed by the bus operator which has a major presence in that area. Some bus interchanges/terminals do not allow for passenger boarding and alighting.

More recently, bus interchanges have been used for overnight parking of buses due to lack of parking space within bus depots.

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Facilities:

Bus interchanges (and some terminals) have one or more of such facilities:

  • Interchange Office
    Staffed by the bus operators, this office is the management center of any bus interchange. It handles passenger inquiries, timekeeping for bus services and various other interchange operations. They usually have a computer terminal for drivers to clock the start and end of their scheduled trips.
  • Transitlink Office
    Run by Transitlink staff, this office handles ez-link transactions anong other uses.
  • Drivers’ lounge
    The drivers’ lounge is where bus drivers take a break before their next departure
  • NTWU Canteen
    The National Transport Workers’ Union (NTWU) manages a group of canteens known as NTWU canteens which are commonly found at major bus interchanges. They provide healthy and low-cost meals for bus drivers, and are also open to members of the public.
  • Parking lots
    For buses to layover
  • Waiting berths
    Berths are pick-up areas for buses. Most major interchanges have three services assigned to a berth, with queing areas for passengers.
  • Alighting berths
    Buses terminating at the interchange drop off passengers here before heading to park
  • Information board
    Public transport operators design various information boards for their interchanges such as locality maps, bus service maps and bus information.
  • Bus arrival display
    This electronic bus arrival board contains timings of the next scheduled bus departure. Recently, SBS Transit has configured their arrival boards to include SMRT bus services.
  • Service guide rack
    Commonly found in SBST-operated interchanges, the service guide rack is stocked with paper guides containing details of various bus services.
  • Stalls
    In recent years, bus operators have opened various stalls at their bus interchanges to increase profits by renting them out to vendors. Food stalls are among the most common.
  • Toilets
    Some bus interchanges charge a small fee for members of the public.
  • Phone Booths

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Types of bus interchanges and terminals:

  • Bus interchanges
  • Temporary bus interchanges
  • Integrated transport hubs
  • Bus terminals / Bus parks
  • Roadside bus terminals
  • Bus depots

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List of bus interchanges in Singapore:

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List of bus terminals in Singapore:

Upcoming Bus Interchanges & Terminals:

  • Bidadari Integrated Transport Hub (Planned, by 2019)
  • Buangkok Bus Interchange (Planned)
  • Bukit Panjang Integrated Transport Hub (U/C – by 2017)
  • Hougang Integrated Transport Hub (Planned)
  • Jurong East Integrated Transport Hub (Planned)
  • Marina South Integrated Transport Hub (Planned)
  • Sengkang Bus Interchange Extension (U/C – by 2016)
  • Tampines Bus Interchange Extension (U/C – by Q2 2016)
  • Tampines North Integrated Transport Hub (Planned)
  • Yishun Integrated Transport Hub (U/C – by 2019)

List of Bus Terminals in Johor Bahru (served by local bus operators):

List of abolished Bus Interchanges and Terminals:

* – Alighting only.
Italics – Other bus operators

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In addition, several bus services terminate at bus stops which do not count as bus termini. These include Service 42 (near Kembangan MRT Station), CW5 (Newton Circus carpark) and CW6 (Boon Lay Way, near Boon Lay MRT).

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Do check out our other bus articles by clicking here.

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