SINGAPORE - A total of 424 bus captains have been hired by Singapore's fourth public bus operator Go-Ahead since it announced its employment package on Feb 15.
This constitutes 60 per cent of the 700 bus captain positions it is hoping to fill before it is due to commence operations on a package of routes in Loyang in the third quarter, the Britain-based company said in a press release on Thursday (April 7).
It added that it expects to fill all 700 positions by then. The Loyang package is made up of three new services and 22 existing ones now run by SBS Transit in Pasir Ris and Punggol.
Go-Ahead revealed that 358 of those hired are currently serving on the 24 operational routes in Loyang, meaning 87 per cent of the existing bus captains affected by the transition to the contracting model have joined the company.
The other 66 hires consist of Singaporeans and permanent residents from Go-Ahead's recruitment drive and come from outside the public bus services industry.
Sixty percent of them already have a Class 4 or 4A driving license.
Managing director Nigel Wood said: "Each and every one of these new members of the Go-Ahead Singapore family is highly valued. They will be the frontline staff that represent all we stand for, and will literally drive us forward in our journey of contributing towards the provision of public bus services for the local communities we are to serve.
"We look to provide them with an excellent work environment, as well as career progression opportunities through training and development."
Go-Ahead had offered a minimum starting pay of $1,865 - identical to that offered by London-based operator Tower Transit.
But it threw in several sweeteners into its overall compensation package, which included a $2,000 sign-on bonus for experienced drivers. All new joiners - regardless of experience - who are still with the company during its 14th month of operations will receive a one-time retention bonus of $1,000.
There is also an annual allowance of $430-$830, maternity leave of 16-26 weeks, two days' eldercare leave and six days' childcare leave. Staff will also get free travel on all public bus and train services in Singapore.
Go-Ahead said it has started training its bus captain hires since last month, "equipping them to deliver safe, comfortable and reliable bus services".
All hires are required to go through training programmes, and attend induction sessions on company culture, guidelines and protocols as well as practical training for route familiarisation and application of safe driving techniques.
"The costs of training new entrants with Class 3 driving licenses to obtain Class 4 ones will be borne by Go-Ahead Singapore," the company added.
Go-Ahead, which is making its first bus foray outside Britain, beat out seven other shortlisted firms last November to clinch the Loyang package.
Its bid of $497.7 million was the lowest submitted.
Those interested in joining Go-Ahead as a bus captain can call 8876 6001 for more information or walk in for an interview at the Loyang bus depot between 9.30am and 12.30pm from Monday to Thursday.