Bus Services Continue to Improve Since Transition to BCM

News Releases 04 Sep 2017 bus contracting


  • Less crowding on about three quarters of bus services during peak periods
  • Additional wait time reduced by 25% for 292 bus services
  • 14 new bus services added by year-end
  • 1,000 more bus captains, 80% locals
  • Close to $4 billion in subsidies over next five years under bus contracting

1.  Our public bus industry fully transitioned to the bus contracting model (BCM) in September 2016.[1] Under the BCM, LTA determines the bus services to be provided and sets service standards. This enables the Government to introduce new bus services, and reduce wait time and crowdedness. To support the higher service standards, the Government will be subsidising close to $4 billion over the next five years to enhance bus services as we progressively build up our rail capacity.

2.  O
ver the last twelve months, two bus packages, i.e. Seletar and Bukit Merah, were put up for open tender. SBS Transit was awarded the Seletar package in April 2017 and will operate from the new Seletar bus depot by first quarter of 2018. The Bukit Merah bus package is currently under evaluation and expected to be implemented by end-2018.

Higher Service Standards for Bus Commuters

3.  To shorten wait time for commuters, an additional 96 buses were injected to improve 114 services. As a result, all bus services around the island now have scheduled headways of no more than 15 minutes during the morning and evening peak periods. More than half of the bus services have scheduled headways of 10 minutes or less. Feeder services run at even shorter intervals, between six to eight minutes. This has led to less crowding on about three quarters of bus services during peak periods.[2]

4.  Bus arrivals have become more regular with the introduction of the Bus Service Reliability Framework (BSRF) as part of BCM. For the 292 high frequency bus services that are assessed on Excess Wait Time, the average additional wait time has been reduced by around 25% since transition to BCM. Of the 73 low frequency bus services assessed on On Time Adherence, 49 have shown improvement in their punctuality. As all bus services are now required to meet BSRF standards, commuters can expect further improvement to bus service reliability.

5.  Connectivity has also been enhanced, as 10 new services have been added to the bus network since September 2016, with four more to be introduced by the end of the year. Together, these 14 new bus services will enhance connectivity in areas including Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Bishan, Bukit Batok, Bukit Panjang, Hougang, Punggol, Sembawang, Sengkang, Tampines, Toa Payoh, Tuas, Whampoa and Yishun.[3]

More Attractive Careers for Bus Workforce

6.  Our bus workforce has benefitted from BCM due to increased competition from more industry players. All public bus operators have improved working conditions and employment terms in order to attract and retain bus captains. Since the implementation of the first bus package last May, more than 1,000 bus captains have joined the industry, of whom 80% are locals.[4]

7.  Our bus workforce is key to the delivery of quality services under BCM. As such, we launched the Singapore Bus Academy in October 2016 to continually upgrade and professionalise our bus workforce. To date, more than 1,200 trainees from 42 intakes have completed the Enhanced Vocational Licence Training Programme. Moving forward, courses will also be developed for other bus professionals, including service controllers and bus technicians. Besides serving as a training centre, the Singapore Bus Academy will also serve as a career resource centre for those who are keen to embark on a career in the public bus industry.

[1] This includes the two bus packages awarded to Tower Transit and Go-Ahead through open tenders, and the twelve packages that are operated by the incumbent operators, SBS Transit and SMRT Buses.

[2] Measured as the proportion of bus services that have seen an improvement in average loading during peak periods between September 2016 and July 2017, compared with the same period a year ago.

[3] Services 127, 129, 247, 248, 329, 374, 381, 883, 944 and 973 have already been introduced. More details on the other four new services will be announced later this year.

[4] Locals include both Singaporeans and permanent residents.

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