Private Bus License and Operation

Buses must be registered in Singapore before they can be driven on public roads. Public buses come under the Bus Contracting Model, while private buses – depending on the type of bus – require licences and permits.

LTA regulates the use and ownership of private buses in Singapore. To ensure their roadworthiness, regular inspections are required and private bus operators must also comply with safety regulations to better serve niche demand of the public.

A permit is needed for private bus operators that wish to use public bus stops for picking up and setting down passengers. Email the completed application form (PDF, 229kb) to LTA_Bus_Licence@lta.gov.sg.

There are different types of private buses in Singapore such as private hire busprivate bus, excursion bus, school bus and omnibus. All of them with the exception of school bus requires a COE under the category C or E. Private buses are also required to adhere to the fare regulation framework. Find out more details on the various types of private buses here

School buses must comply with a set of safety requirements in order to ferry school children. Some examples include having a bus attendant on board or have forward-facing seats that have retractable three-point seat belts etc.

Click here for the full list of requirements.

Failure to comply to these requirements will results in penalties where offenders can be fined up to $2,000 or jailed up to 6 months. 

You may approach the Singapore School and Private Hire Bus Owners Association (SSPHBOA), or the Singapore School Transport Association(SSTA), to have safety devices installed.

Small buses refer to buses with seating capacity for 15 passengers or less, and with maximum laden weight not exceeding 3,500 kg. These buses can be registered as a School Bus, an Excursion Bus, a Private-Hire Bus or a Private Bus.

With the exception of Excursion Buses, applicants are required to apply to LTA, Bus Licensing Division for prior approval to register/ transfer a bus.

What type of driving licence is required to drive a bus?
  • For queries on driving licences, you may wish to contact the Traffic Police Department at 10 Ubi Avenue 3, Singapore 408865. You can call them at 6547 0000 or fax them at 6547 4900.
     
Do I need a Certificate of Entitlement (COE) for my private bus?
  • All Excursion Buses, Private Buses and Private Hire Buses require a Category C or E ("open" for any type of vehicle) COE to be registered.

  • School Buses are exempted from COE. However, no new School Bus licences are available, and must be purchased from the resale market. Existing School Bus owners are allowed to register a replacement bus with the exemption of COE.

  • With the exception of Excursion Buses, applicants are required to apply to LTA, Bus Licensing.
     
Do I need insurance coverage for my private bus?
  • It is the bus owner’s responsibility to ensure sufficient insurance coverage for the type of bus service offered.

  • A valid insurance policy should ensure adequate compensation can be made out to a passenger who is injured or killed in an accident due to the negligence of the person driving the vehicle. You may wish to refer to the General Insurance Association of Singapore (GIAS) for queries on motor insurance.
     
Do I need to seek prior approval to lay up my bus?
  • If your vehicle is a bus carrying school children, you will require prior approval before you can submit an application.
     
What are the requirements for private bus drivers?
 

All bus drivers (except drivers of Private Buses that ferry employees or business associates of the vehicle owners) require a valid General Bus Driver's Vocational Licence issued by the LTA.

To apply for a Bus Driver’s Vocational Licence (BDVL):

  • You must be a Singapore Citizen/Singapore Permanent Resident/Work Permit holder (with bus driver as your vocation).
  • You must be at least 21 years old.
  • You must have held a valid Class 3 Singapore driving licence for a continuous period of at least one year at the point of application.

Read more about Bus Driver’s Vocational Licence
 

How do I register or replace a School Bus?
  • Please refer to this link for more information.
     
Do School Bus owners (buses with CB-suffix registration number) have to display the Adult Workers' Contract (AWC) label?
  • No, School Buses are no longer required to display the AWC label.
     
How do I register or transfer a Private Hire Bus?
  • Please refer to this link for more information.
     
If I have converted my Private Hire Bus/ Private Bus/ School Bus to an Excursion Bus, can I convert it back to a Private Hire Bus/ Private Bus/ School Bus or vice versa?
  • Yes. There is no restriction on the number of conversions. No prior approval is needed from LTA's Bus Licensing Division to convert a bus to an Excursion Bus. However, applicant is required to seek prior approval from LTA's Bus Licensing Division to convert an Excursion Bus to any other type of bus.
Can my private bus enter Malaysia?

If you wish to enter Malaysia with your Singapore-registered private bus you have to check with the Land Public Transport Commission in Malaysia.

The contact details of the various Suruhanjaya Pengangkutan Awam Darat (SPAD) offices are as follows:

Region Address Contact Number
Central Aras 4, Blok Podium, No. 18,Persiaran Perdana, Presint 2
Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan
62652 Putrajaya, Malaysia.
Tel No:03 - 8880 5500
Fax No: 03 - 8880 5621
North                                     Lot 173 dan 174,
Taman Ria Jaya, Jalan Kelab Cinta Sayang,
08000 Sungai Petani
Kedah Darul Aman, Malaysia.
Tel No: 04 - 4485 130
Fax No: 04 - 4485 110
East Wisma LPKP, Lot 2182, Jalan Bukit Kecil,
21100 Kuala Terengganu
Terengganu Darul Iman, Malaysia.
Tel No: 06 - 955 6000
Fax No: 06 - 955 6008
South Lot 391, KM 7.2, Parit Bunga, Jalan Tangkak, 84000 Muar
Johor Darul Takzim, Malaysia.
Tel No: 06 - 955 6000

 

How do I apply for the use of public bus stop by private buses?


Bus stops are primarily meant for use by the public bus services. However, to promote public transport, LTA does allow private buses to use bus stops for passenger activities if there is excess capacity.
 

Operators of free shuttle bus service that wish to use bus stops for passenger activities are to submit an application to LTA for approval.

Please complete and submit the Application Form for the Use of Bus Stops by Free Shuttle Bus Services.

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