Go-Ahead to extend loan of SBS Transit bus drivers

Go-Ahead will extend its loan of bus drivers from SBS Transit until January, to help it cope with the upcoming festive season. The British-based operator is, however, ending its arrangement with SMRT Buses and returning its 10 drivers.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, its spokesman said the loan extension for feeder service 358 is in consideration of the upcoming festive season and "to better optimise our existing pool of bus captains to focus on serving our commuters".

A spokesman for the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said it had approved the arrangement.

"LTA will work with Go-Ahead and SBS Transit to ensure that commuters continue to be provided with regular bus services," she said.

Meanwhile, Go-Ahead will resume using its own drivers for the operation of bus service 359 from Nov 21, which is currently provided by SBS Transit bus captains under loan.

In September, Go-Ahead had turned to borrowing bus drivers from SBS Transit and SMRT Buses after it was hit by around 20 resignations due to its unpopular practice of driving multiple routes, called interlining.

The resignations happened only a little over two weeks after the company began operations.

Under the "short-term sub-contracting arrangements", SBS Transit deployed 30 bus captains to drive bus services 358 and 359, currently operated by Go-Ahead from Loyang Depot, while SMRT Buses loaned 10 drivers.

The arrangements are due to end in around two weeks' time.

The resignations also led to Go-Ahead getting operator Tower Transit to supply a bus service for its employees at Loyang Depot from Sept 18 to Oct 15.

Go-Ahead has since Oct 16 resumed running its own staff bus service .

The company has hired 84 new bus captains since Sept 4, with close to two-thirds of these new hires having driving experience and the rest coming from other industries.

These additions bring its total number of bus drivers to 740.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 05, 2016, with the headline 'Go-Ahead to extend loan of SBS Transit bus drivers'. Print Edition | Subscribe