SBS Transit to raise pay of bus captains

Almost 10,000 staff will benefit, with new captains able to earn up to $3,460 a month

SBS Transit, the largest bus operator here, yesterday said it would raise the monthly starting pay for its bus captains to $1,950, an increase of more than 9 per cent from the current $1,775.

Almost 10,000 SBS Transit employees, including 6,500 bus captains, will benefit from the new salary package, which comes after several months of negotiations between the bus operator and the National Transport Workers' Union (NTWU).

New bus captains will now be able to earn up to $3,460 a month, taking into account overtime, salary adjustments and a new reliability incentive of up to $300 monthly under the Bus Service Reliability Framework.

They will also receive a sign-on bonus of $3,000.

Staff will also be eligible for benefits such as two weeks of paid paternity leave, free travel on SBS trains and buses, free annual health screenings and a new flexible benefits scheme with an annual credit value of $500.

"As the Singapore public bus industry grows and evolves, this review of employment terms and career progression for our bus captains is timely," said NTWU executive secretary Melvin Yong.

Mr Yong, who is a Member of Parliament for Tanjong Pagar GRC, added: "As our biggest local public bus operator, SBS Transit sets a good example in the fast-growing industry."

SBS Transit chief executive officer Gan Juay Kiat said: "With this new package, we hope to attract more Singaporeans and Singapore permanent residents to join us as bus captains and strengthen our Singaporean core."

SMRT, the second largest bus operator, would only say that it regularly reviews its pay and benefits to "remain competitive".

Mr Nigel Wood, managing director of Go-Ahead, the fourth bus operator, said he welcomed the announcement by SBS Transit.

"This can only serve to benefit the broader community of bus captains and those who plan to join the industry," he said.

Mr Wood added that he believed Go-Ahead's pay package was "market-competitive".

The announcement by SBS Transit comes after Tower Transit, Singapore's third bus operator, announced a pay hike of 3.5 per cent for its staff, bringing the starting pay of its bus captains to $1,930 monthly.

Tower Transit began operating its first nine services out of the Bukit Batok Bus Interchange on Sunday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 02, 2016, with the headline 'SBS Transit to raise pay of bus captains'. Print Edition | Subscribe