The Go-Ahead Group is a multi-modal passenger transport operator founded in 1987. Formerly a small bus operator in north-east England, the Go Ahead Group has since expanded and diversified into rail services, providing more than a billion journeys each year in the United Kingdom. It now operates over 4,600 buses with a strong presence in London, boasts a large market share in UK’s rail industry, and employs more than 26,000 people in the UK altogether.
The company entered the Singapore bus scene when it bidded for and won the Loyang Bus Package. The route package originally comprised of 25 bus routes based out of the new Loyang Bus Depot. This was the second contract awarded by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) as part of the Bus Contracting Model (BCM), which intended to introduce a competitive scene where bus operators bidded for the operating rights to various bus route packages, and a share of the market.
In September 2016, Go-Ahead Singapore (GAS) took over operations of 24 existing bus services from SBS Transit in two tranches. Spaced two weeks apart, the two tranches allowed Go-Ahead Singapore progressive control over Punggol Bus Interchange, followed by Pasir Ris Bus Interchange. The initial five-year contract for the Loyang Bus Package was extended by two years for good performance, ending in September 2023.
Timeline (till 2019)
- 23 Nov 2015: Loyang Bus Package awarded to Go-Ahead Singapore (GAS)
- 11 Dec 2015: Loyang Bus Depot handed over to GAS for outfitting works (Article)
- 19 Jun 2016: Loyang Bus Depot open house cum official opening (Article)
- 04 Sep 2016: Took over operations of 13 bus services originating from Punggol Bus Interchange (Article)
- 18 Sep 2016: Took over operations of 11 bus services originating from Pasir Ris Bus Interchange, and Service 2 and 36 from Changi Village and Changi Airport (Article)
- 07 Nov 2016: Starts trial of BYD Electric Bus (Article)
- 12 Mar 2017: Launch of Bus Service 381 (Article)
- 28 Jan 2018: Launch of Bus Service 12e (Article) and MAN A95 buses on revenue service (Article)
- 12 Mar 2018: Launch of Bus Service 2A (Article)
- 1 Apr 2018: Launch of Bus Service 68 (Article)
- 5 Sep 2018: Launch of MAN A22 buses on revenue service
- 29 Oct 2018: Launch of Short Trip Bus Service 386A
- 2 Jan 2019: Takeover of City Direct 661 (Article)
- 25 Mar 2019: Launch of Short Trip Bus Services 34B & 85A
- Late March 2019: Launch of On-Demand Employee Bus, EB Ride (Article)
- 1 Jul 2019: Launch of Short Trip Bus Service 382A
- 9 Sep 2019: Launch of Express Bus Service 43e
- 18 Nov 2019: Launch of Short Trip Bus Services 68A & 68B
- 3 April 2020: Launch of Yutong ZK6128BEVG (E12) buses on revenue service (Article)
- 2 March 2020: Takeover of City Direct 666 (Article)
- 26 August 2020: Loyang Bus Package 2-year contract extension granted to Go-Ahead Singapore
- 27 December 2020: Launch of Feeder Bus Service 384
Company initiatives and incidents
Before the opening of Loyang Bus Depot, Go-Ahead Singapore brought in a New Bus for London as part of a promotional tour to accompany LTA’s Our Bus Journey Carnival. Unable to be statically displayed at the Carnival, the bus resorted to running publicity routes outside the Carnival locations (around Vivocity and Toa Payoh) over two weekends. For more information, see Go-Ahead Group New Bus for London visits Singapore.
On 19 June 2016, Go-Ahead Singapore organised an open house cum official opening (Go-Ahead Singapore Bus Carnival) at Loyang Bus Depot.
Two weeks after commencing operations in September 2016, a shortage of drivers resulted in Go-Ahead having to borrow Bus Captains from SBS Transit and SMRT for 2-3 months. Its Employee Shuttle bus routes were also operated by Tower Transit for a one-month period.
In late-March 2019, Go-Ahead launched EB Ride, an On-Demand Bus Service for its employees.
Solar panels were installed on 2 Go-Ahead Singapore operated MAN A22 (Euro 6) buses as part of a six month trial from March 2021.
Vehicle Health Telematics System
Go-Ahead uses a “Vehicle Health Telematics System” to monitor the status of its vehicles and improve the efficiency of vehicle inspections and bolster its predictive maintenance regime. This was reported in a Straits Times article (Real-time monitoring system helps Go-Ahead Singapore keep their buses in top form, 2 Aug 2021).
Using the system, technicians can access real-time data on tyre pressure, location, engine temperature, and more, of every bus in the fleet. The system also has analytics, which flags up buses that have recurring or potential issues.Straits Times article (Click to expand)
Every night, Loyang Bus Depot is a hive of activity.
As the more than 450 buses in Go-Ahead Singapore’s fleet return after service, the bus operator’s maintenance crew goes to work checking the vehicles so they are fit for use the next day.
About 15 to 20 buses are inspected head-to-toe daily as part of a 28-day maintenance cycle – a process that would have previously involved tasks such as manually checking the air pressure of each tyre, and manually recording mileage readings.
But a vehicle health monitoring system installed across Go-Ahead’s fleet last year has eliminated the need for such menial work.
With a few clacks of the keyboard or taps on a screen, engineers such as Mr Tan Tat Cheng, 33, are able to pull up real-time data on tyre pressure, location, engine temperature, and more, of every bus in the fleet.
This can be done remotely from home.
An SMS alert is also automatically sent to engineers and supervisors if any critical issues crop up.
Likening it to the telematics systems used in motor sports, Go-Ahead Singapore’s engineering director, Mr Leonard Lee, said the system has allowed the bus operator to detect problems early so commuters do not experience delays and can have smoother journeys.
“The main objective is not to find immediate faults. It is really to predict issues before they happen,” he told The Straits Times.
Custom-built by Go-Ahead and Singtel in 2019, the system was put on trial for six months before it was implemented fleet-wide last year.
This took nine months as the process was hampered by supply issues due to Covid-19, said Mr Lee.
With the new system, Go-Ahead has been able to make big productivity gains, he added. For example, tyre pressure sensors added this year have saved maintenance workers three hours per day, which they would have needed if they had to use a pressure gauge to conduct manual checks.
Tyre punctures are detected early and engineers can ensure that tyre pressures are at an optimum level before buses go out for service, improving commuter comfort and safety on the road.
“Now they can look at all 450 buses and top up tyre air across the wider fleet,” Mr Lee said. “From the bus captain’s point of view, they also have peace of mind.”
Mr Tan, who is in charge of preventive maintenance at Go-Ahead’s bus engineering department, said the system has helped to reduce human error.
The system also has analytics, which flags up buses that have recurring or potential issues.
“It might not be serious but if we know about all this, we can do something about it,” Mr Tan said. “We have more control.”
For example, there were buses found to have batteries that did not have sufficient charge or were overcharging. Had this not been addressed, there would have been delays as the bus engines might not have been able to start, Mr Lee said.
The system also picks up harder to detect issues, such as high coolant temperatures, said Mr Tan.
“Previously, you wouldn’t be able to detect this unless you were on the bus itself. The engine also has to be running for a certain amount of time,” he added.
Go-Ahead is now trialling cabin temperature sensors, and is also exploring whether it can monitor the air pressure in the pneumatic system the drives the bus doors.
Said Mr Lee: “We are always looking out for new and innovative ways to enhance our maintenance regime and improve the commuter’s experience.
“We want to be connected to our buses. This system is scalable, so we can do more.”
Bus Services & Fleet
The company operates the following bus models leased from the LTA:
- Volvo B9TL Wright Double Deck bus
- Mercedes-Benz Citaro Single Deck bus
- MAN A95 Double Deck bus
- MAN A95 (3-door) Double Deck bus
- MAN A22 Single Deck Bus
- Yutong E12 Electric Single Deck Bus
- Yutong E12DD Electric Double Deck Bus
In 2021, Go-Ahead Singapore operated a CRRC C12 bus as part of a trial.
Go-Ahead Singapore operates bus services as part of the Loyang Bus Package.
More photos of Go-Ahead Singapore buses at our Go-Ahead Singapore Bus Gallery.
- March 2016: Go-Ahead Group New Bus for London visits Singapore
- 19 Jun 2016: Loyang Bus Depot Carnival
- Jul-Sep 2016: Go-Ahead prepares for launch day
- 04 Sep 2016: Go-Ahead First Day of Operations
- 18 Sep 2016 – 15 Oct 2016: Tower Transit operating Go-Ahead Employee Shuttle Buses
- 18 Sep 2016: Second Tranche of Go-Ahead Bus Services
- 21 Sep 2016: Go-Ahead borrowing Bus Captains from SBS Transit and SMRT
- 07 Nov 2016: Go-Ahead Singapore trials BYD Electric Bus
Articles on Go-Ahead Singapore
- Go-Ahead MAN A95 buses begin operations
- Go-Ahead Singapore trials BYD Electric Bus
- Go-Ahead borrowing Bus Captains from SBS Transit and SMRT
- Second Tranche of Go-Ahead Bus Services
- Tower Transit operating Go-Ahead Employee Shuttle Buses
- Go-Ahead: One Week On
- Go-Ahead First Day of Operations
- Go-Ahead prepares for launch day
- Loyang Bus Package Commencement Dates announced
- Speech by Mr Zainal Bin Sapari at Loyang Bus Depot Official Opening
- Go-Ahead Singapore Bus Carnival
- Go-Ahead Group New Bus for London visits Singapore
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