New bus operator Tower Transit unveils pay package for bus captains

Fueling stations at Bulim Bus Depot, which has been taken over by new transport operator Tower Transit.
Fueling stations at Bulim Bus Depot, which has been taken over by new transport operator Tower Transit. PHOTO: LTA

SINGAPORE - Singapore's third bus operator, Tower Transit, unveiled its employment package for its bus captains on Thursday.

Singaporean bus captains can earn a starting basic wage of $1,865 a month, plus additional payments based on performance and safe driving. With 10 hours of overtime a week, they can earn up to $3,000 a month.

The basic pay offered by the newcomer is 5 to 15 per cent higher than that offered by the two existing bus operators SBS Transit and SMRT. But Tower's total monthly package is similar to SBS Transit's.

London-based Tower Transit, which won the rights to operate Singapore's first Government bus contract, said it has embarked on a "job redesign", allowing bus captains to dispense with duties such as refueling, cleaning and parking the buses at the end of the day.

Other benefits also include free travel for employees on all public transport, as well as 26 weeks of paid maternity leave for female staff.

The terms were developed by Tower Transit in consultation with the National Transport Workers Union.

Tower Transit will start operating 26 routes in the western part of the island, called the Bulim package, from the second quarter of 2016.

A total of 450 transport workers from SBS Transit and SMRT will be affected by the move.

Tower Transit, which said it needs to recruit 750 bus captains in total, said it made employment offers to the affected drivers at the end of October.

It did not say, however, how many it had already recruited.

Ms Tammy Tan, SBS Transit's senior vice president for corporate communications, said its basic starting pay for a Singaporean bus captain is $1,775 but several allowances and incentives go into the gross pay.  "Hence, together with overtime, new Singaporean bus captains  can earn up to $3,000 a month," she added.

SMRT declined to reveal details of its employment contract but an earlier report said the basic pay was $1,625, about 15 per cent less than Tower Transit.