Budget 2013: Singapore to open up competition for bus routes before 2016

Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew said the Government is looking into opening up competition for some bus routes before 2016.

Responding to Mr Cedric Foo (Pioneer SMC), Mr Lui said his ministry intends to move ahead with contestibility "to some extent" before the existing licences held by the two bus operators, SMRT and SBS Transit, expire in 2016.

He said Singapore would move towards something like London's model where there are seven operators contesting to run and operate different packages of routes.

"I think the challenge is in putting together packages of routes together with the supporting infrastructure like depots and interchanges that will support this contestability framework," said Mr Lui.

For the rail network, Mr Lui said he will not rule out the possibility that foreign players will be invited to bid for new lines like the Thomson Line. He also said that he intends to open up competition for rail lines that are run currently run by SMRT and SBS Transit.

"How to do so, in what time frame and the details, we will have to work out, but we certainly hope to see some progress within the next two to three years."