Singapore Budget 2015: Bus riders in Punggol, Pasir Ris, next to gain from bus contracting

SINGAPORE - COMMUTERS in Punggol and Pasir Ris will be the next in line to benefit from the Government's move to restructure the bus industry to a contracting model.

A tender for a package of 25 routes serving the two areas will be called in the second quarter of this year, Transport Minster Lui Tuck Yew announced during the debate on his ministry's budget yesterday.

The operator who wins the contract is expected to run the bus services from the second half of 2016, with about 400 buses for a start. This will grow to about 500 buses in 2021, in tandem with new developments in the area and a projected growth in ridership.

Under the contract, the Government will own all the fleets and infrastructure, with the operators to focus on running the routes and meeting service standards - which are expected to be higher than current ones.

This bus package is the second to be tendered out under the Government contracting model. The tender for the first bundle of 24 routes, called the Bulim package, attracted 11 bidders when it closed in January 2015.

The latest contract is expected to be awarded in the second quarter of this year.

Out of the 25 routes which will be tendered out in the latest contract, 22 are currently being run by SBS Transit, with three new services to be announced later.

They will deploy out of the Changi Airport Bus Terminal, Changi Village Bus Terminal, Pasir Ris Bus Interchange and Punggol Bus Interchange.

The package will operate out of a new Loyang bus depot, located off Loyang Avenue, that will be completed in June this year, and can accommodate about 500 buses.

The depot will be equipped with workshop facilities for the refuelling, maintenance and repair of buses.

A third tender for bus routes in the Mandai area will likely be called later this year.

The eventual plan is to progressively carve out all bus services in Singapore into 12 packages, which will be run by three to five operators after 2022.