News of this development has surfaced a term which bus enthusiasts may already know. It’s called Interlining, which is the practice of having bus captains drive multiple routes. Interlining requires the driver to know the road network, road conditions and bus passenger travel patterns that are peculiar to each route he or she is assigned to drive. For instance, a route that includes schools may see a surge in passengers at various times of the day when students end their classes.
Mr Tan Kian Heong, Managing Director SMRT Buses and Road Services, explained why SMRT is stepping in to help another public transport operator, “SMRT Buses will support Go-Ahead Singapore to ensure that commuter journeys are not affected. Ten SMRT bus captains will be attached to Go-Ahead for two months to help with their current staffing needs.
Mr Tan also shed light on what interlining entails, “Interlining is often used to achieve an efficient scheduling solution. However, SMRT Buses is selective when applying interlining into our schedule because an excessively interlined arrangement would require bus captains to be familiar with multiple routes, which is more demanding than driving a single route. It may also have an impact on their work-rest cycle. For our interlined services, SMRT Buses will ensure that all bus captains receive route familiarisation training and cater for sufficient rest so that they can carry out their duties well. The welfare of our bus captains is important to us in maintaining high service standards.”