SINGAPORE - The island's fourth public bus operator, Go-Ahead Singapore, rolled out its first 13 bus services on Sunday morning (Sept 4).
Bus service 82 departed Punggol temporary bus interchange at 5.15am, marking the debut for the British-based company in Singapore.
Among those taking the firm's first-ever local bus service were a few commuters, senior staff from Go-Ahead, and National Transport Workers' Union executive secretary Melvin Yong.
Over 10 bus spotters - enthusiasts whose hobby is to identify every bus make and model - also turned up before the crack of dawn to board the first service.
One of the commuters - Mdm Asmah Haron, 55, a kitchen helper - said Go-Ahead's first service ran smoothly. "The bus left the interchange earlier at 5.15am, instead of 5.30am, which means I can get to work earlier today," she said.
Go-Ahead is the second foreign operator to enter the market, under a Government contracting model aimed at restructuring the sector to deliver better services for commuters.
Last November, it won the rights to operate 25 bus services to operate routes in Pasir Ris and Punggol - called the Loyang package - with a bid of $497.7 million.
Along with service 82, Go-Ahead will take over 12 other routes from incumbent SBS Transit on Sunday: 3, 34, 43/43M, 62, 83, 84, 85, 118, 119, 136, 382, 386.
Two weeks later, the firm will launch 11 more services: 2, 6, 12, 15, 17, 36, 354, 358, 359, 403, 518. An additional route, with details to be announced later, will be launched next year (2017).
In May this year, the Anglo-Australian Tower Transit started operations in the western part of Singapore, effectively breaking a three decade duopoly held by SBS Transit and SMRT in the industry.