LTA Awards Bukit Merah and Jurong West Bus Packages to SBS Transit and SMRT Buses

News Releases 18 Aug 2023 bus package

1        The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has awarded the contracts for the Bukit Merah and Jurong West bus packages to SBS Transit Ltd (SBST) and SMRT Buses Ltd (SMRT) respectively. These contracts, estimated at a total fee of $890 million[1] over the five-year contract period, will commence progressively from the second quarter of 2024. LTA has the option to extend each contract by between two and five years at the end of the five-year term.

2        The Bukit Merah bus package is currently operated by SBST and consists of 17 routes[2] operating from Ulu Pandan Bus Depot. Under this package, SBST will also continue to manage Bukit Merah and HarbourFront Bus Interchanges.

3        The Jurong West bus package, which is currently operated by SBST, consists of 26 routes[3] operating from Soon Lee Bus Depot. These services and use of the depot will be handed over to SMRT by September 2024. Under this package, SMRT will also manage Joo Koon and Boon Lay Bus Interchanges.

Evaluation process

4        A combined tender for the Bukit Merah and Jurong West bus packages was called on 23 November 2022. Bus operators were invited to submit bids for the two bus packages individually and/or a combined bid for both. Tender submissions were evaluated based on a two-envelope process which looked at both quality and price factors. The price submissions were only opened after the quality evaluation was completed. This two-envelope process ensures that LTA gets the best value-for-money proposal without compromising on quality.

5        SBST[4]and SMRT were awarded the contracts because they received the highest total score for the individual bus packages, taking into account both price and quality factors. Bids from the two companies displayed an excellent understanding of the operational considerations for the Bukit Merah and Jurong West bus packages. The total price of the two individual winning bids was also more attractive when compared to the bid prices received for the combined package.

6        SBST and SMRT also put forth compelling value-added proposals to improve service delivery, environmental sustainability and promote public transport usage. For instance, SBST proposed to deploy Minibot, a self-service mobile concierge, as part of its customer service enhancements. The company also aims to achieve zero carbon emissions as part of its sustainability efforts.

7        SMRT demonstrated its strong commitment to inclusive transport by proposing to deploy an AI-enabled CCTV system to identify commuters who need help. The company also plans to leverage its WINK + application to promote the use of public transport and incentivise commuters to travel during off-peak periods.

Transition of impacted workers

8        Current SBST employees from the Jurong West bus package will be protected by the Guidelines on Good Employment Practices in the Public Bus Industry and must be offered a job by SMRT, the incoming operator, at employment terms that are no worse-off compared to current employment terms.

Annex A: Bid Prices for Bukit Merah and Jurong West Bus Packages
Annex B: Details of Bukit Merah and Jurong West Bus Packages

[1] Excluding any adjustment for inflation, change in wage levels and fuel costs, service variation or incentive payment during the contract period.

[2] Service 5, 16/16M, 57, 93, 120, 121, 122, 123/123M, 131, 145, 160/160M, 170/170X, 195, 198, 272, 273, 400.

[3] Service 179/179A, 181/181M, 182/182M, 185, 192, 193, 194, 199, 240/240M, 241, 242, 243G/243W, 246, 247, 248/248M, 249, 251, 252, 253, 254, 255, 257, 258, 405, 502, 974/974A.

[4] SBST submitted a base proposal and an alternative proposal for the Bukit Merah Bus Package. While both proposals are of the same quality, the alternative proposal offers better value for money with more efficient use of resources.      

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