Bus operator Go-Ahead suspends five bus services due to manpower crunch amid Covid-19 pandemic

The suspension is temporary and the services are either express or city direct services.
The suspension is temporary and the services are either express or city direct services.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - Bus operator Go-Ahead Singapore is suspending five bus services from Wednesday (Sept 15) due to manpower shortage amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The suspension is temporary and the services are either express or city direct services, the company said in a Facebook post on Sunday. The affected express services are 12e, 43e and 518, while the affected city direct services are 661 and 666.

The suspension was due to "the impact of Covid-19 on available manpower", it said, adding that trunk bus services 12 and 43 will continue to operate.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said the suspension was part of contingency plans in response to the rising wave of Covid-19 infection in the community.

“(Go-ahead Singapore) has obtained LTA’s approval to temporarily suspend five express and city direct bus services which are of lower demand to allow bus captains to be redeployed to serve higher demand trunk and feeder services.”

The authority also advised affected commuters to take other bus services or use the MRT to get to their destinations.

“LTA and the public transport operators will continue to monitor the situation closely and may make further adjustments as the situation evolves, including when more bus captains return to work,” it added.

Bus operator Tower Transit told ST that the manpower shortage currently has no significant impact on its bus services. It added that it is monitoring the situation closely and will make adjustments as the situation evolves.

SMRT said it is working with LTA to monitor the situation. “We will make the necessary adjustments as the situation evolves to minimise the impact to commuters,” said SMRT director of bus operations Lee Yong Heng.

The bus service suspension announcement on Sunday came after LTA and the four major bus operators, Go-Ahead Singapore, SBS Transit, SMRT and Tower Transit, said on Friday that commuters should be prepared to wait longer for some buses, with a few hundred drivers down with Covid-19, or placed under quarantine or stay-home notice.

The increase in waiting times for the majority of affected services is within five minutes, the LTA said. For a very small number of services, it is more than 10 minutes.

When asked whether it is planning to suspend its bus services, SBS Transit did not respond to the query and referred ST to the LTA statement.