Tower Transit to equip technicians with tablets as part of rigorous maintenance regime

Tower Transit's logo at the Bulim Bus Depot.
Tower Transit's logo at the Bulim Bus Depot.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - Singapore's third bus operator, Tower Transit, will equip its vehicle technicians with tablets, as part of a comprehensive maintenance regime to keep buses running without a hitch.

With the tablets, technicians will input inspection and maintenance information directly to a fleet management system. The chance of error, in having a separate group of people to key in data from pen-and-paper checklists, will also be minimised.

Such a system is now being tested in London, where the firm also operates; but Tower Transit said on Monday (Nov 30) that it will be rolling it out here.

"What we want to avoid at all costs is buses breaking down while they are on the road in service," said the company's chief financial officer, Mr Andrew Bujtor.

He added: "With a comprehensive maintenance regime we are implementing and very detailed tracking of all our buses and each bit of work that gets carried out... we are very confident that we can identify issues before they happen and rectify them."

Tower Transit, which won a Government contract in May to operate 26 bus routes in the western part of the island, will start running services in the second quarter of 2016.

During a media tour of the Bulim bus depot, which will house 500 buses, the company said it has received a positive response from bus captains to join its ranks.

They include existing drivers who are working for incumbent operators SBS Transit and SMRT and whose routes will be taken over progressively by Tower Transit. They have been offered employment contracts and have until the end of 2015 to accept them.

Additionally, Mr Bujtor said, 30 Singaporeans, who have had no experience as bus captains, have joined the company.

To give bus captains a comfortable working environment, the depot will have a canteen with a seating capacity of 300, including a recreational area with ping-pong and foosball tables.

Those who work a split-shift - during the morning and evening peaks with a long downtime in between - will also have a dedicated resting area with lounge beds.

Earlier in November, the firm also announced a job redesign in which bus captains will not be required to refuel, wash and park the buses. The work will be handled by a team of 60 shunters instead.