Bukit Merah Bus Package

Ulu Pandan Bus Depot: Overhead view (Dec 2017)
Ulu Pandan Bus Depot: Overhead view (Dec 2017)

Bus Contracting Model (BCM) Route Package #4:
“Bukit Merah Bus Package” (18 bus routes)

First announced on 11 August 2016, the Bukit Merah Bus Package will be the fourth set of public bus services to be put up for tender under the Bus Contracting Model. Currently, SBS Transit operates all bus services in this package under a Negotiated Contract (NC) model until Year 2018.

This package comprises 18 existing bus services mainly originating from Bukit Merah, HarbourFrontNew Bridge Road, Queen Street and Shenton Way Bus Interchanges/Terminals, with a minority number of services originating at Buona Vista and Marina Centre Bus Terminals. The route package is one of fourteen bus packages to be released by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) as part of the transition to the Bus Contracting Model (BCM), and crucially covers SBS Transit’s major cross-border operations (Service 160, 170 and 170X).

Service 57 is one of 18 bus services under the Bukit Merah Bus Package
Service 57 is one of 18 bus services under the Bukit Merah Bus Package

As announced in February 2018, SBS Transit Ltd is the successful tenderer of the Bukit Merah Bus Package, who will receive an estimated total fee of $482 million over five years. The 18 bus routes will be based out of the newly-built new Ulu Pandan Bus Depot, located off Business Park Drive within the International Business Park, which is scheduled to be completed in Q1 2018 and able to accommodate about 500 buses. Currently, the bus park is occupied by SMRT Buses for the overnight parking of its buses.

The package will consist of about 340 buses when implemented in the fourth quarter of 2018, and will grow to about 390 buses in tandem with new developments and projected growth in ridership. All bus routes are expected to transition to the BCM in four tranches from the 4th quarter of 2018.

Contract Details:

Name PT203: Bus Contracting – Bukit Merah Bus Package
Awarded SBS Transit Ltd
Duration Five years, with two-year extension granted based on good performance
Key Dates Published – 28 Apr 2017
Closed – 28 Aug 2017
Awarded – 23 Feb 2018
Services 5, 16, 57, 93, 120, 121, 122, 123/123M, 131/131M, 145, 160, 170/170A/170X, 195, 198, 272, 273, 400, 402
Bus Depot Ulu Pandan Bus Depot
Anchor Interchanges / Terminals Bukit Merah, HarbourFront, Kampong Bahru, Queen StreetShenton WayMarina Centre

Bidding Procedure

As of the tender closing time, 6 bids were submitted from hopeful operators.

S/No Country Tenderer Price for 5 Years
Amount (S$)
1. China / Local Jiaoyun Group Corporation / Travel GSH Pte Ltd Consortium 418,835,946.60
2. Local SBS Transit Ltd 474,965,108.00
Alternative Bid: 471,965,108.00
3. China Shenzhen Bus Group Co. Ltd. 449,264,285.00
4. Local SMRT Buses Ltd 444,925,777.00
5. Local The Go-Ahead Group Plc 518,706,175.00
6. Local Tower Transit Singapore Pte. Ltd. 483,796,997.00

Contract Awarded:

On Friday, 23 February 2018, LTA announced SBS Transit Ltd as the winner of the Bukit Merah Bus Package. The evaluation was conducted through a two-envelope process which included quality and price factors, with greater weightage given to the quality proposals submitted by tenderers. As per the LTA press release, SBST was awarded the contract because its proposal demonstrated a comprehensive understanding of the operational considerations, and strong competence in bus service scheduling that would enable the optimal deployment of buses and resources.

In addition, SBST’s proposal showcased extensive experience in bus operations, while offering good value for money. It also had comprehensive contingency plans for cross-border services, and committed a significant number of experienced technicians to ensure high maintenance and reliability standards. SBST also demonstrated innovative IT solutions for infrastructure and asset maintenance, as well as security management, with the development of several in-house mobile applications for staff to report defects and incidents. It also presented a career development programme to up-skill its staff, with more opportunities for career progression, the authority said.

Additional Initiatives:

SBS Transit introduced a telematics system, known as SAGE, on all 730 buses under the Seletar and Bukit Merah Bus Packages to monitor the smoothness and comfort of bus rides provided by Bus Captains (BCs). The system records and monitors the BC’s driving behaviour such as speeding and harsh acceleration with feedback given in real-time through audio and visual alerts. This system is aimed at improving the safety of buses. Besides SAGE, these buses are also equipped with the Mobileye collision alert system.

SBS Transit also set up a new, modern Technical Assessment and Certification Centre at Ulu Pandan Depot for the Singapore Bus Academy (SGBA). This would enhance the professionalism of engineering and technical staff in the bus industry. SBS Transit’s experienced engineering staff would be involved in curriculum development and conducting assessments and certification.

Bus Services:

Bukit Merah Bus Package consists of 18 existing bus services, all of which are currently operated by SBS Transit. As a result, there will be no operator changes to all services.

Service Destination 1 Destination 2 Type Description
5 Bukit Merah Pasir Ris Trunk
16 Bukit Merah Bedok Trunk
57 Bukit Merah Bishan Trunk
93 HarbourFront Eunos Trunk
120 Kampong Bahru ↺ Telok Blangah Heights Trunk
121 Kampong Bahru ↺ Telok Blangah Rise Trunk
122 Kampong Bahru ↺ Commonwealth Drive Trunk
123 Bukit Merah Beach Station Trunk
123M Harbourfront ↺ Tiong Bahru Road Trunk Supplementary
131 Bukit Merah St. Michael’s Trunk
131M Bukit Merah ↺ Bt Purmei Ave Trunk Peak-hour Supplementary
145 Buona Vista Toa Payoh Trunk
160 Jurong East ↺ JB Sentral Trunk Cross Border
170 Queen Street Larkin Trunk Cross Border
170A Queen Street Woodlands Ctr Rd Trunk Supplementary
170X Kranji MRT ↺ JB Sentral Trunk Cross Border
195 Marina Centre ↺ Commonwealth Avenue Trunk
198 Bukit Merah Boon Lay Trunk
272 Bukit Merah ↺ Telok Blangah Rise Feeder
273 Bukit Merah ↺ Henderson Road Feeder
400 Shenton Way ↺ Marina Gardens Drive Trunk
402 Shenton Way ↺ Marina Coastal Drive Trunk

Services 123M, 131M, 170A and 170X are considered as supplementary services of their parent service and do not add to the overall service count. Short-Trip services are not included in the above list.

Scope of Tender:

As part of the tender, the new Operator will be required to fulfil responsibilities as such:

  1. Operate the eighteen (18) bus services in the areas in accordance with specified EWT performance standards
  2. Operate and maintain the buses and their onboard equipment provided by LTA
  3. Operate and maintain Bukit Merah and HarbourFront Bus Interchanges, New Bridge Road, Queen Street, Shenton Way and Marina Centre Bus Terminals, and the new Ulu Pandan Bus Depot, including all equipment and systems provided therein
  4. Charge and collect the fares approved by the Public Transport Council, on behalf of the Government
  5. Provide bus service information at all bus stops and bus interchanges served by the 18 bus services
  6. Provide customer management services, such as lost and found service, and a hotline for commuter feedback and enquiries.

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 even shorter scheduled headways of no more than 10 minutes. Of these, the feeder services will run at even shorter intervals of 6-8 minutes. An estimated 45% of bus services will come at shorter intervals during peak periods when compared to the expanded BSEP.

More guidelines can be found in the main Bus Contracting Model (BCM) article.

Bus Interchanges & Terminals under the package:

Bus Depot under the package:

Route Package Timeline:

  • 2016 (11 Aug): Bukit Merah Bus Package mentioned as one of 11 Negotiated Contract (NC) Packages operated by SBS Transit.
  • 2017 (28 Apr): Bukit Merah Bus Package open for Tender. Closes on 28 Aug 2017, 12:00PM
  • 2017 (28 Aug): Tender closed with 6 bids received

External Links & References:

Back to Bus Contracting Model