Tower Transit buses to hit the road soon

'Bulim package' of 26 routes serving the west to roll out in three tranches from May 29

Transport operator Tower Transit - which won the inaugural government bus contract - will start operations at the end of next month, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) revealed yesterday.

The Anglo-Australian firm will operate a total of 26 bus services progressively.

It will take over nine routes from SMRT on May 29, then another 17 from SBS Transit in two batches in June. All the routes will serve western Singapore.

The LTA and Tower Transit said that by implementing the services in three tranches, there will be a "smooth transition with minimal inconvenience to commuters".

LTA chief executive Chew Men Leong added: "The Bulim bus package marks the start of the bus contracting model.

"We would like to assure commuters that LTA, Tower Transit Singapore, SBS Transit and SMRT are working together tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that the transition is as smooth as possible."

The Bulim bus package of 26 services is named after the Bulim Bus Depot, located off Jurong West Avenue 2, from which Tower Transit will operate.

The services will run from three interchanges, Bukit Batok, Clementi and Jurong East, and terminate at interchanges in Bedok, Marina Centre, Shenton Way and Toa Payoh.

Mr Andrew Bujtor, managing director of Tower Transit Singapore, said the company has been "extremely focused" on the launch and is now in a "very good position in terms of manpower and operational readiness".

"When we finally hit the road, our promise is that with the release of each tranche, each bus and each trip, we will continue to get better and more intuitive in serving our commuters," said Mr Bujtor.

Under the contracting regime, buses and infrastructure are owned by the Government, with bus routes tendered out to operators, which will focus on meeting service standards.

In May last year, Tower Transit clinched the Bulim bus package with a bid of $556 million for five years.

British firm Go-Ahead won the second government bus contract for $498 million in November, earning the rights to operate 25 routes in the Punggol and Pasir Ris areas.

It is expected to start operations in the third quarter of this year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 30, 2016, with the headline 'Tower Transit buses to hit the road soon'. Print Edition | Subscribe