The Republic's newest bus operator, Go-Ahead Singapore, will launch operations on Sept 4, and ply routes serving commuters in the Pasir Ris and Punggol areas.
Go-Ahead will take over 13 of the 24 bus services currently run by SBS Transit on its first day, followed by another 11 routes two weeks later, on Sept 18.
In a joint statement yesterday, Go-Ahead and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said this will "ensure a smooth transition with minimal inconvenience to commuters".
Go-Ahead will also launch a new bus service next year, with details to be announced later.
The 25 bus services will operate from the Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Pasir Ris, Punggol, Sengkang, Tampines and Yishun bus interchanges, as well as the Changi Airport, Changi Village, Changi Business Park, New Bridge Road and Upper East Coast bus terminals.
The first 13 bus services to be run by Go-Ahead Singapore
The services make up the Loyang bus package, which the British- based Go-Ahead won last November in a government tender, with a bid of $497.7 million.
Go-Ahead Singapore is the second foreign bus company to join the industry under the Government's bus contracting model, which aims to restructure the industry to boost service standards.
Under it, the Government will own all operating assets such as buses and infrastructure. Bus routes will be split into packages and tendered out to operators to run for a fee, with the Government bearing the revenue risk.
Tower Transit Singapore, which won the first government bus tender - to run routes in the western region - started operations in May with nine bus services. It launched another 17 routes in two batches in June.
LTA chief executive Chew Men Leong said the authority has been working hard with Go-Ahead for a seamless transition and to bring about a better commuter experience with more regular bus timings and smoother bus rides.
Go-Ahead Singapore managing director Nigel Wood said the company is in its final stages of preparations. "Over the last few months, we have met a number of important targets, such as bus captain recruitment, creation of a service control centre and commissioning a number of brand-new buses," he said.
In an update to The Straits Times, Go-Ahead said it has met its recruitment target for bus captains, having hired more than 700 of them.
On Sept 18, the firm will launch 11 more services
About close to half, or 47 per cent, are driving the routes currently run by incumbent SBS and have signed on with Go-Ahead, with the others being new hires.
It also has a fleet of 66 buses that are being repainted and used for training, which will be increased to about 400 after it has taken over all 24 routes.
This is expected to increase further to around 500 in 2021, to serve new developments in the area and a projected growth in ridership.
The first bus services to be run by Go-Ahead Singapore will be: 3, 34, 43/43M, 62, 82, 83, 84, 85, 118, 119, 136, 382, 386.
On Sept 18, the company will launch 11 more services: 2, 6, 12, 15, 17, 36, 354, 358, 359, 403, 518.