SINGAPORE - The first bus service package to be tendered out under a new operating model will comprise 24 existing routes in the western part of the island.
Announcing details on Wednesday, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said the 24 routes originate from the Jurong East, Bukit Batok and Clementi bus interchanges. The package will start with about 380 buses, and expand to about 500 buses by 2021, in tandem with ridership growth and the development of Tengah New Town and Bukit Batok West, said the LTA.
The buses will operate out of the new Bulim bus depot located off Jurong West Ave 2, which will be ready in 2015 and have facilities for refuelling and maintenance.
The LTA will put the package up for tender later this year, and open it to all parties - incumbents SBS Transit and SMRT, local operators and foreign ones. The operator that wins the tender will start running the routes from the second half of 2016. Of the 24 routes, 16 are from SBS Transit and eight from SMRT.
This is the first of three bus service packages that the LTA will tender out over the next two years. The remaining 80 per cent of buses will be bundled into nine packages, to be run by SBS Transit and SMRT till around 2022 before they are put up for tender.
These details come a week after the Government announced plans to restructure the public bus industry to a contracting model, which it believes will inject more competition to the industry and raise service levels over time. Since then, a public transport tripartite committee chaired by Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo has meet bus industry workers who could be affected by the changes.
The LTA said it will work closely with the National Transport Workers Union and bus operators to help workers understand bus contracting better, and look after their interests.
Said Mrs Teo: "The job security and welfare of bus captains, technicians and other workers in the bus industry are our key priorities. We...will work closely with the various parties to address these concerns, oversee the transitional arrangements for manpower, and safeguard the welfare of the affected bus workers."