Two firms, Via Transportation and Ministry of Movement, have been awarded almost half a million dollars in contracts to carry out on-demand bus service trials
Two firms land deal to conduct on-demand bus trials Via Transportation (top) and Ministry of Movement (which owns SWAT) have been awarded contracts by LTA to begin on-demand bus service trials in Singapore. PHOTOS: SCREENGRAB FROM WWW.RIDEWITHVIA.COM, SWAT

SINGAPORE - The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has awarded nearly half a million dollars in contracts to Via Transportation and Ministry of Movement to carry out on-demand bus service trials here.

The authority called a tender last August to seek proposals from the industry to trial on-demand bus services. It received 10 proposals from both local and overseas tenderers.

The LTA said the two firms were assessed to have "a strong understanding of the tender requirements".

"Both also submitted comprehensive bids that were high quality and good value for money," the regulator said in an announcement on Tuesday (Feb 13). The contracts are worth $466,194.50 in total.

Both firms have proven track records in developing on-demand ride-sharing applications and operating real-time, dynamically routed bus services, said LTA.

Via is currently operating on-demand bus services in cities such as Chicago and New York, while Ministry of Movement is a local start-up that commenced operations in Singapore in August 2016.

Globally, on-demand bus services have been implemented in places such as Helsinki in Finland, Chicago, Minnesota, New York and Washington DC in the US, and most recently, New South Wales in Australia.

In the first phase of the trial, both firms will develop a dynamic matching and routing algorithm which will enable buses to be deployed according to real-time commuter demand, as well as pick-up and drop-off points.

They will also conduct simulations to demonstrate and refine the service standard and resource requirements to enable LTA to determine the operational trial parameters.

In the second phase, to be awarded in the third quarter of this year, the successful tenderer or tenderers will work with LTA and public bus operators to test and calibrate software and hardware solutions before carrying out the operational trial from the fourth quarter of 2018.