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Driving set to get more troublesome in Singapore with more “Give way to buses” spots

By Ragingbull on 23 Dec 2009

Attached Image: Untitled_1.jpg
On top of the bus only green lights, normal and full-day bus lanes and the pilot to test the proposed “Give way to buses” scheme at three locations in Singapore earlier in the year, the LTA has just released news that they will be extending the scheme to 15 more bus bays come Christmas and island-wide over the coming two year.

That’ll temporarily bring the grand total of bays with this accident-causing, revenue-generating (primarily through fines) scheme to 41!

But really what baffles me is the fact that to conclude that the pilot was successful, they only restricted their poll to 200 bus commuters, of which 96% said they noticed the difference. But what about the other motorists who have to slow down and stop giving way for the buses? And putting up with the fact that a good portion of bus drivers don’t signal when moving off, making it so much harder for us drivers to predict whether we are clear to go or not.Attached Image: bus.gif

So in the event that a bus recklessly exits the bay causing me to brake hard before the line, the car behind me wouldn’t be able to stop in time. And already quite a number of testimonies of these accidents are surfacing on popular forums like MCF and the ever popular Stomp website.

Ridiculous! Surely I can see the benefit to the public transport commuters but has the LTA even considered the problems and inconveniences being caused to the motoring public? So now driving from A to B will inevitably take long won’t it? Especially if you get those three bus combo’s, with all of them exiting one after another.

There has to be a problem with the system. LTA initially said earlier in the year that they would be introducing 180 of such bus bays from June 2009, but they seem to have put it off till now. Why the put off? Reasons could vary but one can’t deny the fact that there could be too many problems with this in the first place for them to sort.

If they wanted to improve traffic flow I suggest they relook the amount of roadworks all over the island, clogging up the roads they’re on. As usual we can’t expect any of our opinions to be heard and considered so do get used to the changes.

If not you’re looking at a $180 fine!

lta, land transport authority and 1 more...

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Arowana1 Dec 23 2009 10:38 PM
i thot their solution was to move the bus stop outwards so that the bus stop area is within the left most road?

or they found not feasible? or cost too much to move the bus stop? esp since they move it back to create bus bays sometime ago? tis is worse than corruption becos they openly declare themselves clean but yet spending tax payers money like nobody business, not to mention paying themselves top dollar equal to private sector but without the accountability.
Kyojin Dec 24 2009 03:26 AM
Why is it "troublesome"? See it from the commuter's point of view. your minute spent giving way to a bus means you save 40 man-minutes of the commuters on the bus.

also, you are suppose to read traffic and not be charging down the roads blindly.

in my opinion, your views are plain selfish. road users are not confined to drivers, but to commuters and pedestrians as well.
Raining Dec 24 2009 03:54 AM
seems pretty dangerous.. 1 reckless bus driver + 1 blur driver will result in CATASTROPHY..
Strife Dec 24 2009 10:13 AM
Two conflicting sides.
A Motorist
B Public transport commuters

NO prize for guessing where one would stand.

Considering the amount of load the public bus carries,
there is more social benefits to be achieved.


Carcuter88 Dec 24 2009 11:41 AM
I dont think the time savings for the buses justify the amount of confusion and traffic-hold-ups this stupid scheme causes.

Find a bus-stop where a Cisco guy stands with a camera in hand. You can see some drivers e-braking on the line, some drivers swerving out dangerously into the 2nd lane before the line.

I would think that a simple yellow box is good enough.
Busybody Dec 24 2009 11:55 AM
3 Simple questions:

a. SBS buses can take non-bus lanes to get ahead while we cannot get onto the bus lanes when it is empty? Fair?

b. Eventhough "Give way to buses" signs are missing, buses continue to turn out despite not having right of way. Fair?

c. Most roads are 3 lanes, so effectively cars can travel on 2 lanes ONLY, but we are not paying for 2/3 road tax or 2/3 the COE. Fair?
Drive_carcar Dec 24 2009 05:07 PM
With bus lanes and mandatory give-way to bus regulations, I get pretty pissed off when buses get into the second lane nowadays.

Buses do this mainly because they want to overtake another slower bus, but these buses are not very fast either. As a result they slow down traffic for cars and other vehicles by taking what's left of 2/3 of the road.

The last time I got this from a bus, I horned the crap out of that fella until he quickly get back to the bus lane. My point is, you got your dedicated bus lane - JUST STAY THERE!
Waffenss Dec 25 2009 05:03 AM
I'm a driver, but I applaud this. Accidents do happen because pple tailgate. Jamming break before the box when enforcement officers are around shows that most disregard the rules.
Civicsiao Dec 25 2009 09:45 AM
Just keep to the centre lane, problem sovled!

But this will cause the middle lane to jam up!
Photo
Bic_cherry Dec 28 2009 03:45 AM
Give way to buses scheme is dangerous and disingenuous (Ver5.0; 28Dec09):

Give way to buses scheme is dangerous and disingenuous (Ver5.0; 28Dec09):The conception behind this new policy is not only contradictory, it's also extremely dangerous and quite unenforceable as I shall describe:
- The LTA concept: see 1st large heading at 'How the Scheme Works')- “The Mandatory Give-Way to Buses Scheme is similar conceptually to a zebra crossing, except that it is meant for buses.”
http://www.onemotori...y_give_way.html
- The give way to buses scheme is likely to contravene the Geneva Convention on Road Traffic [1949] (GCRT1949) http://en.wikipedia....on_Road_Traffic which Singapore is signatory to, (and by which agreement are international driving permits accepted in Singapore).

Legal contradiction(s):
The relevant sections of Article 12 are described as follows,
- Para 2 states: “Priority of passage may be accorded at intersections on certain roads or sections of road. Such priority shall be marked by signs and every driver approaching such a road or section of road shall be bound to yield the right of way to drivers traveling along it.”
- Para 4(a) states: "Every driver before starting to turn into a road shall: (a) make sure that he can do so without danger to other road users;"... ( http://en.wikisource...on_Road_Traffic )
- I believe that bus bays/ exit are certainly better described as a 'property bordering' and definitely not 'road intersection', so para 4(a) should be logically applied, and any vehicle exiting the bus lane should thus give way to the main road traffic. (Para 2 can only be applied in this case to legitimize bus lanes/ bays so that only 'privileged vehicles' would have right of passage, for priority use of roads by public/ emergency vehicles and cyclist in single file ).
The result of this legal contradiction can only be more conflict amongst road users as the new law contradicts the existing international agreement. Defendant drivers would bring up this international treaty to argue about the illegitimacy of the new law. (Arguments that can beef up their claim include the lack of signaling/ brusk/ abrupt driving by the bus driver etc.). LTA is dong a disservice to society by perpetuating such conflict amongst road users.

In efficacy:
By its own admission, LTA has admitted the new rule to be less efficacious then the existing bus lane scheme by up to 5% (7% cf 12% ) in total traveling time reductions. ( http://www.onemotori...y_give_way.html cf
http://www.onemotori..._bus_lanes.html )

Practical considerations and controversies.
1) Bicycling is established as an efficient, economical, healthy, clean and sustainable means of personal transportation/ recreation. Its invention preceding that of all motorized transportation, its value to society historically etched. However, due to their slower pace, such mode of transportation has since been relegated to the left most lane on Singapore roads. This new rule is an added inconvenience and adds to the ambiguity about the rights of cyclist on main roads, its development a danger to the lives of all. With this new development, abiding cyclist would now have to breath more toxic fumes emitted by buses; have we forgotten our roots, Singapore is starting to get unhealthy.
2) The existing bus lane rules serve a dual purpose as they are a boon to 'privileged' road users. Emergency vehicles all get their well deserved priority use of roads as a developed society well requires, (cyclist get priority too but must travel in single file). I can imagine police and ambulances getting stuck in jams just because some wise crack at LTA decided that this was a cheap way of 'solving a problem', a stop gap measure I guess.
3) These new rules do not clearly state the rights of buses exiting versus emergency vehicles going straight. Convention defines right of way firstly by vehicular position, vehicular type being the exception (i.e. ALL traffic stops before red lights, emergency vehicles may pass only if oncoming traffic has agreed to stop). The new rule turns convention on its head resulting in a law that requires emergency vehicles to give way to buses, have our priorities been compromised?
4) As a continuation of the above point, another bus going straight would have to give way to a bus exiting the bay since 'give way' would clearly apply legal to all regardless. I cannot therefore understand how this would ultimately save time. If any, such repetitive start-stop driving by all would be a waste of fuel and tyre rubber and detrimental to road surfaces (heaviest vehicles use the left lane), not to mention an increase in driver mental fatigue.
5) Buses in bays are fraught with improbabilities. Passengers may suddenly request boarding/ alighting at last minute and buses cannot accelerate too quickly for fear of passenger falling over. Bus lanes are thus a must to ensure a safe, clear and gentle exit from bus bays. The new rules may hasten departure but definitely do not decrease the stress of bus driving. Assuming bus drives who over-exert their right of way are also liable to cause accidents.
6) A heavy vehicle vs bus accident becomes an unsolvable problem, the bus driver claiming he'd signaled, the lorry driver alleging a faulty signal light. The signal light now damaged during to the accident. The hazard of such misunderstandings expected to escalate at night.
7) Unlike all bus lane rules which only apply during peak hours, these new give way rules apply at all hours. Besides a new rule being added confusion, and contradiction, its application during off peak hours might yield little if no benefit for public transport but much hazard and danger for other road users. Also, a 'broken down'/ stationary bus jutting slightly out of the lane would result in much confusion to traffic along the main road, thus resulting in slower travel times overall.


Non enforceability.
Compared to existing bus lane rules, which are enforceable via photographic evidence form bus mounted/ roadside warden camera shots, with the offending vehicle clearly occupying a restricted carriageway. Prosecution for failure to give way under the new scheme however would require concurrent proof a bus intending to exit a bay. Various variables, including speed of the traffic along the main road and the viability of the bus driver's intentions make contested charges a challenge to prosecute.


Conclusion:
The existing traffic regulations (signaled/ unsignaled junctions/ pedestrian crossings, ERP gantries, yellow box markings) alone or in tandem with bus lanes (which have other intangible benefits) adequately serve the purposes of expediting public and emergency transportation well. LTA in its current attempt at setting new laws is at best a lame reinvention of the wheel, at worst, a disaster waiting to unravel.

LTA has shown obvious conceit in its haste to declare the trial a success (29April09) (: http://app.lta.gov.s....asp?start=2118 ) , high- handed and cursory; the main parties surveyed seems to only include '200 commuters' and 'public transport operators' (which are almost all public listed companies). I doubt LTA consulted the traffic police departments, cyclist's associations, emergency vehicle and truck/ private bus drivers unions and motor insurers nor the judiciary adequately before implementing these laws.

It's hazards out weighing its intent, this disingenuous 'give way to buses' scheme must quickly be suspended lest more public resources be spent rectifying the social and economic damage that it has caused.



Refrences:
How the scheme works (3july09): http://www.onemotori...ml#MainPar_0007

Existing bus lane rules and timings: http://www.onemotori...ml#MainPar_0062
A1motoring, 22Dec09: Give way to buses at 15 more bus bays: http://motoring.asia...222-187483.html

STOMP 29Aug09: “I gave way to bus -- and got rammed from behind”, http://singaporeseen...rom_behind.html

STOMP 19Aug09: “I am one of many 'victims' unfairly fined $130 under new 'give way to bus' rule ”, http://singaporeseen...o_bus_rule.html

Ver1.0 (this article) posted to REACH web site on 22.8.09. http://app.reach.gov...ts/Default.aspx
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