Once the last bus pulls out of the Punggol Interchange on Saturday night, its makeover will start.
The island's fourth and newest public transport operator, Go-Ahead Singapore, will launch operations to take over the interchange, doing things like replacing information bus guides and town maps. Everything must be ready before the first bus leaves the interchange the next morning at 5.15am. Passengers using Punggol Interchange from Sunday will be greeted with Go-Ahead Singapore's corporate colours of red and yellow.
But the appearance should be the only thing that commuters find different, given that Go-Ahead has been working with the relevant authorities and partners - the Land Transport Authority, incumbent operator SBS Transit and the National Transport Workers' Union - to ensure a smooth transition when it takes over from SBS Transit.
Number of Go-Ahead staff
Number of bus captains
Number of staff from the engineering department
Number of buses
We are pleased to say we have met our target of hiring the number of bus captains required for a start. Among them, we have a large number of colleagues with driving experience. We are in the market for the long term.
MR NIGEL WOOD, managing director of Go-Ahead Singapore.
British firm Go-Ahead won the second government bus contract for $497.7 million last November, earning the rights to operate 25 routes serving areas including Pasir Ris, Punggol, Changi, Tampines, Bedok and Sengkang, for a period of five years. It follows Tower Transit Singapore, which started operations in May and runs routes in the western region.
From Sunday, Go-Ahead will begin operating 13 bus routes in the Loyang district now run by SBS Transit. A further 11 routes will follow two weeks later, with a 25th service to be launched next year.
It will also manage the Pasir Ris and Punggol bus interchanges and use the Loyang Bus Depot, which was officially opened on June 19. Go-Ahead will take over the management of Pasir Ris Interchange on Sept 18.
Over the past few months, it has met a number of important targets, such as bus captain recruitment, the creation of a service control centre and commissioning a number of brand-new buses.
As of mid-August, the bus operator had about 870 staff members, including 700 bus captains and 65 employees in the engineering department. Its fleet now stands at 71 buses, and it will have approximately 400 buses when fully operational.
Passengers can look forward to bus captains who will greet them as they come on board and keep them informed of traffic situations along the route.
On the first day, Go-Ahead staff will be on hand to guide commuters and answer queries. "Being a new public transport bus operator in Singapore, we had to establish ourselves with the local community as well as stakeholders," said managing director Nigel Wood.
Facing a tight labour market, the company has had to offer competitive remuneration packages.
"We are pleased to say we have met our target of hiring the number of bus captains required for a start. Among them, we have a large number of colleagues with driving experience. We are in the market for the long term," he said.
The first services to be run by Go-Ahead Singapore will be: 3, 34, 43/43M, 62, 82, 83, 84, 85, 118, 119, 136, 382, 386.
On Sept 18, the company will launch 11 more services: 2, 6, 12, 15, 17, 36, 354, 358, 359, 403, 518.
Correction Note: An earlier version of this story implied that the buses will be carrying the corporate colours of Go-Ahead Singapore. It is actually Punggol Interchange that will carry the colours. We are sorry for the error.