1. The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has awarded the contract for the second bus package to The Go-Ahead Group Plc. Starting from the third quarter of 2016, Go-Ahead, which runs bus and rail services in the U.K., will operate the Loyang bus package of 25 bus services1. These bus services will be operated out of the new Loyang Bus Depot which Go-Ahead will manage. In addition, Go-Ahead will manage two bus interchanges - Pasir Ris Bus Interchange and Punggol Bus Interchange. Go-Ahead will receive an estimated total fee of $497.7 million2 over the five-year contract period.
2. Go-Ahead has 26 years of experience operating both public bus and rail services in the U.K. The company is the largest bus operator in London, running 24% of the city’s bus routes, with about 2,300 buses from 17 depots across the city and employing about 7,000 staff under a similar bus contracting model.
3. Commuters can expect higher bus service levels as all bus services will have scheduled headways of no more than 15 minutes for both directions during the morning and evening peak periods, with at least half of them having scheduled headways of no more than 10 minutes. Of these, the feeder services will run at intervals of six to eight minutes.
4. Mr Chew Men Leong, LTA’s Chief Executive, said, “The Singapore bus industry is going through an exciting period of transformation. The award of the Loyang bus package to Go-Ahead Group, the largest bus operator in London, shows that our bus contracting model is attracting competitive bids. The bus contracting model allows us to be more responsive to the needs of commuters.”
5. The tender for the Loyang bus package was launched on 15 April 2015 and attracted 10 bids when it was closed on 14 August 2015. All tender submissions were evaluated based on the same set of criteria through a two-envelope process which looked at quality and price factors. With greater weightage given to the quality proposals submitted by tenderers, the price envelopes were only opened after the quality evaluation was completed. This two-envelope process allows LTA to raise the service levels of our bus industry and at the same time get the best value for money. Overall, the quality of all the bids for this package was closely matched and they were all competitively priced.
6. Go-Ahead is awarded the contract as it has the highest combined total score for both quality and price evaluation. In its tender submission, Go-Ahead demonstrated a thorough understanding of ground conditions and strong ability in developing strategies to manage specific scenarios for each bus route. The company also displayed strong competence in bus service scheduling to enable the optimal deployment of buses and resources. At the same time, Go-Ahead also emphasised in its proposal a stringent maintenance regime for bus assets and infrastructure. A robust bus-to-technician ratio and strict quality control processes will also be put in place to ensure high maintenance standards. In terms of manpower development, Go-Ahead has comprehensive plans to attract and retain bus captains, with a strong focus on growing the local workforce, training and developing employees, as well as offering career progression opportunities to all levels of staff.
Scope of Contract
7. Go-Ahead will operate 25 bus services from Changi Airport and Changi Village Bus Terminals, as well as Pasir Ris and Punggol Bus Interchanges; and terminate at Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Sengkang, Tampines and Yishun Bus Interchanges, as well as New Bridge Road and Upper East Coast Bus Terminals. To ensure a smooth transition with minimal inconvenience to commuters, the 25 bus services will be placed on the bus contracting regime in two tranches from the third quarter of 2016. These services will be supported by the new Loyang Bus Depot located off Loyang Avenue, which will be handed over to Go-Ahead in December 2015 to allow them sufficient time to recruit and train bus captains and technicians.
8. In addition to operating and managing bus services to specified performance standards, Go-Ahead’s responsibilities include the following:
a) Operate, manage and maintain the buses and their on-board equipment provided by LTA;
b) Operate, manage, and maintain Pasir Ris and Punggol Bus Interchanges, and the new Loyang Bus Depot, including all equipment and systems provided therein;
c) Charge and collect fares as approved by the Public Transport Council, on behalf of the Government, for travel on the bus services in the package;
d) Provide bus service information at all bus stops and bus interchanges served by the bus services; and
e) Provide customer management services, such as lost and found service, and a hotline for commuter feedback and enquiries.
9. If Go-Ahead performs well, LTA can extend the contract term by two years at the end of the contract.
Safeguarding Welfare of Workers
10. The Guidelines on Good Employment Practices in the Public Bus Industry issued by the Public Transport Tripartite Committee (PTTC) in September 2014 will help to safeguard the welfare of affected employees of the Loyang package. These guidelines detail the obligations and responsibilities of both incoming and outgoing bus operators including the timeline for the offer of employment, recognition of the length of service, employment terms to be safeguarded, treatment of affected bus industry employees including those who choose to stay with the outgoing operator, as well as training for those who choose to join the new operator.
11. The three key assurances proposed by the PTTC have also been included into the contract with Go-Ahead. These assurances are:
a) All affected employees must be offered a job by the incoming operator;
b) Affected employees must be offered employment terms which are not worse-off than what they had been enjoying before transition; and
c) Affected employees can choose to join the new operator or be redeployed by their current employer, where feasible.
12. Go-Ahead will be applying to become a member of the PTTC as part of the company’s commitment to the manpower development of the local bus industry.
1 The 25 bus services are: 2, 3, 6, 12, 15, 17, 34, 36, 43, 62, 82, 83, 84, 85, 119, 136, 354, 358, 359, 386, 403, 518 and three new services.
2 Excluding adjustment for inflation, changes in wage levels and fuel costs, service variation, and incentive payment during the contract period.