Bulim and Sembawang-Yishun Bus Packages put up for tender

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has put up a call for a tender for the Bulim and Sembawang-Yishun Bus Packages on 29 November 2019.

The Sembawang-Yishun Bus Package marks the fifth tendered contract for the bus contracting model, while the Bulim Bus Package is currently up for its second term under the bus contracting model.

Under the Bus Contracting Model, bus routes were bundled into bus packages, consisting of a single bus depot, several bus interchanges, the bus routes and the buses themselves. With all bus infrastructure belonging to the Government, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) would contract out the bus package, select a bus operator (through a competitive tendering process), and lease these assets to the new operator.

As part of the transition, all existing bus services in Singapore (previously operated by long-standing duopoly between SBS Transit and SMRT Buses) were divided up into 14 route packages, operating under a negotiated contract with the incumbent operator until the Bus Package is tendered out competitively.

The Bulim Bus Package was first awarded to Tower Transit in May 2015, while the Sembawang-Yishun Bus Package has been operated by SMRT Buses under a negotiated contract since September 2016.

In a response by LTA to The Straits Times, this contract includes 29 routes in the Bulim Bus Package and 27 routes in the Sembawang-Yishun Bus Package. However, the bus service numbers of these routes were not mentioned.

More details will be announced when made available.

Contract PT217: Bus Contracting – Bulim and Sembawang-Yishun Bus Packages involves three components, where tenderers are required to submit bids for.

  • Bulim Bus Package
  • Sembawang-Yishun Bus Package
  • Combined bid for Bulim Bus Package & Sembawang-Yishun Bus Package

The tender closed on 30 March 2020, at 4:00pm sharp.

Bidding Procedure

According to tender details as published on government procurement portal GeBIZ, bids were submitted by 5 hopeful operators. namely:

S/No Country Tenderer Price for 5 Years
Amount (S$)
1. China Guangzhou Public Transportation Group No.3 Bus Co., Ltd TBA
2. Local SBS Transit Ltd TBA
3. Local SMRT Buses Ltd TBA
4. Local The Go-Ahead Group Plc TBA
5. Local Tower Transit Singapore Pte. Ltd. TBA

This is the first time that Guangzhou Public Transportation Group No.3 Bus Co., Ltd is participating in a local bus package tender. Chinese companies have participated in all previous rounds of bus package tenders, either tendered as standalone companies or in joint venture with local companies.

All four other tenderers (SBS Transit, SMRT Buses, Go-Ahead and Tower Transit) are incumbent operators.

See Also:


94 thoughts on “Bulim and Sembawang-Yishun Bus Packages put up for tender

  • 3 December 2019 at 7:34 PM

    TTS to take Sembawang-Yishun Package!? That’s crazy! SMRT should carry on taking Sembawang-Yishun Package, considering 963/R/e are inside the package. If TTS wants to take Sembawang-Yishun Package, they might as well take CCK-BP package also.

  • 3 December 2019 at 3:03 PM

    Whether who win the contract is secondary.priority concern is will it be better than current situation for the passenger and Bus Captain or it will be more worse.present Good driver hard to get and the road getting more dangerous.if the package is award to the cheapest one.the new company may start to cut cost and time which may result rushing bus and many more.

  • 2 December 2019 at 11:02 AM

    Anything is possible now. Does this mean that Tower Transit performed just ok only since they never got the 2 years extension, based on the initial contract agreement? If SMRT Buses loses this contract, it will be the 5th contract that they have failed to secure. Considering the fact that they lost the first 3 tendered contract and 1 negotiated contract. Damn suay for them if they lost the Yishun-Sembawang package. Unless by some miracle, SMRT gets the Bulim Package and TT gets the Yishun Sembawang package. If TT gets both, that means they have 2 contracts under them. We’ll just have to wait and see.

    • 3 December 2019 at 9:58 PM

      Unlikely SMRT will lose. It should win either one or both. If lose for the 5th time straight, it will be a big waste of time, money and effort, might as well close shop forever.

      • 4 December 2019 at 12:40 PM

        If SMRT win also, it will probably be their own Sembawang-Yishun package. It would be super weird though for them to win Bulim and TT win Sembawang-Yishun. If that really happens, TT move out of Bulim and into Mandai, while SMRT move into Bulim. So many possibilities.

        • 4 December 2019 at 4:04 PM

          Actually, considering now the economy is not looking good, can the LTA just look for the most cost effective proposal, and not care about service quality? Because now the economy is not looking good. If can save, please save. So, in this aspect, this round, I think the 4 incumbents (TT, SMRT, SBST, GA) all have advantage over potential new comers (eg. Busway, which preciously participated in the first two tenders but never win). Because the incumbents can leverage on their existing contracts (including TT with their existing Bulim package) to achieve economies of scale, which is costs savings as a result of being large, as the same amount of resources is being used to operate a larger amount of services. Whereas the giants SBST and SMRT would have an advantage over TT and GA in terms of scale, I shall maintain a neutral point of view and see which tenderer (including potential newcomers like Busway) would submit the proposal that is the most cost effective, which is the lowest cost yet feasible at the same time. May the most cost effective proposal win.

    • 5 May 2020 at 10:07 PM

      Really suay for SMRT not to clinch the package.

  • 2 December 2019 at 10:36 AM

    Uh oh! Does it mean Sembawang-Yishun bus package will be operated by Tower Transit next year? I hope not…

  • 2 December 2019 at 12:08 AM

    Please don’t award these contracts to bus operators that operate buses so slow like a snail

    • 8 December 2019 at 5:22 PM

      Why would LTA do so? Buses travelling slowly means more buses and BCs needed. Any bidder doing so will find themselves being undercut by others – pure suicide.


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