An "unconventional" bus stop along Bukit Timah Road has been thrown into the spotlight after a photo by Facebook user Mei Shan went viral
"Unconventional" bus stop beats land constraints in innovative way: Ministry The design of this "unconventional" bus stop along Bukit Timah Road was the subject of recent online criticism. It was thrown into the spotlight after a photo by Facebook user Mei Shan went viral. PHOTO: GOOGLE MAPS

The "unconventional" bus stop in Bukit Timah Road was designed to overcome land constraints in an innovative way, said the Ministry of Transport on Saturday.

The ministry was responding to recent online criticism over the design of the bus stop, which was thrown into the spotlight after a photo by Facebook user Mei Shan went viral.

In a Facebook post last Wednesday, she said she was confused by how the bus stop was built, as there were railings situated in front of it.

The post, which has been shared more than 3,000 times, led some netizens to point out that commuters would have to walk several metres from the shelter to the bus bay to board their bus.

On Saturday, the ministry said in a post on its Facebook page that the bus stop was built this way to overcome land constraints along the busy Bukit Timah Road, while minimising the impact to vehicular and human traffic.

"Wonder what happens when there's insufficient space for a typical bus stop?" the post said. "The answer? We innovate!"

The ministry said the safety of passengers and road users is a priority, alongside keeping the traffic flow smooth on the roads.

Hence, engineers came up with this "unconventional" idea of placing the bus stop at the site, while providing a shelter for commuters to stay protected from the rain and sun.

This was not the first time this particular bus stop has caught the public's attention.

In March 2012, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) addressed a similar concern in reply to a forum letter in the Today newspaper.

In its reply, the LTA said that unlike what is typically seen, there had been insufficient space to have the bus stop parallel to the bus bay along that stretch of Bukit Timah Road.

However, building a bus bay was still necessary to prevent buses from obstructing traffic flow on the road as they stop to pick up and drop off commuters.

This was especially so as traffic flow in Bukit Timah Road was often heavy during the peak hours.

Railings were also installed to guide commuters to board the bus at the designated bus bay and to keep them safely away from the carriageway, the LTA said.

"The railings also deter bus drivers from stopping at the tapered end of the bus bay and hamper traffic as passengers alight," it added.

The LTA also said a bus shelter was built to allow the public to wait comfortably for their buses, as this particular bus stop serves a large number of commuters.