Bulim Bus Package

Refer to Page 2for details about the 2nd term of the Bulim Bus Package which was awarded to Tower Transit and commences operations in May 2021.

The Bulim Bus Package is one of fourteen bus packages under the Bus Contracting Model (BCM).

Incumbent Tower Transit Singapore
Present Contract Term Tendered Package 1st Term (Contract PT200):
29 May 2016 – 29 May 2021
Current Term Bus Services (PT200) 41, 49, 66, 77, 78, 79, 96, 97, 97e, 98/98M, 106, 143/143M, 173, 177, 183, 189, 282, 284, 285, 333, 334, 335, 941, 945, 947 & 990
Operated by SMRT Buses under negotiated contract – 653, 657 & 944
(29 bus routes)
Upcoming Contract Term Tendered Package 2nd Term (Contract PT217):
30 May 2021 – 2026
Upcoming Term Bus Services (PT217) 41, 49, 66, 77, 78, 79, 96, 97, 97e, 98/98M, 106, 143/143M, 173, 177, 183, 189, 282, 284, 285, 333, 334, 335, 653, 657, 941, 944, 945, 947, 990 (29 bus routes)
Bus Depot Bulim Bus Depot
Bus Interchanges Jurong East Bus Interchange, Bukit Batok Bus Interchange
Venture Drive Bus Interchange (U/C)

Under the BCM, bus routes are bundled into bus packages, consisting of a single bus depot, several bus interchanges/terminals, 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.

The successful tenderer operates these bus routes and collects fares on behalf of LTA, while maintaining the associated bus infrastructure (buses & onboard equipment, depots, interchanges & terminals). In return, the operator is awarded an operating fee from LTA and potential bonuses via an incentive framework.

As for the Bulim Bus Package, most bus routes originate from Jurong East, Bukit Batok and Clementi Bus Interchanges, and terminate at Bedok, Boon Lay, Marina Centre, Shenton Way and Toa Payoh.

Tower Transit has been the incumbent operator since May 2016 and will remain so until at least 2026.

PT200 – Bulim Bus Package (Present Term: 2016 to 2021):

Bulim Bus Package was the very first route package to be released under the BCM. First announced in May 2014 with 24 bus services, it was later revised to 26 bus services in October 2014 when the tender was published, inclusive of two new bus services serving Jurong East area (Service 41 and 990, which were launched in Q4 2014).

In May 2015, Tower Transit was announced as the successful tenderer of the Bulim Bus Package, who would receive an estimated total fee of $556.0 million over five years. The 26 bus routes were to be based out of the then-newly-built Bulim Bus Depot, located off Bulim Avenue, which was completed in 2015 and able to accommodate about 500 buses. Tower Transit gradually took over all bus routes in three tranches: on 29 May 2016, 12 June 2016 and 26 June 2016.

This package started with about 380 buses leased to Tower Transit in the second half of 2016, and was expected to progressively grow to about 500 buses in 2021, in tandem with expected ridership growth and the development of Bukit Batok West and Tengah New Town.

On 29 November 2019, the 2nd term for the Bulim Bus Package was released for tender, along with the Sembawang-Yishun Bus Package. It was awarded to Tower Transit Singapore Pte Ltd on 30 September 2020. Refer to Page 2 for more details.

Contract Details (1st Term):
Contract PT200: Bus Contracting – Bulim Bus Package
Awarded Operator Tower Transit
(Tower Transit Singapore Pte Ltd)
Duration Five years; option of 2 year extension not exercised
Key Dates Tender Published 3 Oct 2014  |  Closed 19 Jan 2015 |  Awarded 8 May 2015
Commenced Operations 29 May 2016 (Tranche 1) – 9 bus routes
12 June 2016 (Tranche 2) – 6 bus routes
26 June 2016 (Tranche 3) – 11 bus routes
13 April 2017 (Negotiated Contract with SMRT Buses) – City Direct 653
24 April 2017 (Negotiated Contract with SMRT Buses) – City Direct 657
27 August 2017 (Negotiated Contract with SMRT Buses) – Service 944
Bus Services 41, 49, 66, 77, 78, 79, 96, 97, 97e, 98/98M, 106, 143/143M, 173, 177, 183, 189, 282, 284, 285, 333, 334, 335, 941, 945, 947 & 990
Operated by SMRT Buses under a Negotiated Contract – 653, 657 & 944
Anchor Bus Depot Bulim Bus Depot
Anchor Bus Interchange / Terminal Jurong East Bus Interchange, Bukit Batok Bus Interchange
Jurong East Temporary Bus Interchange (Former)
Bidding Process:

Originally closing on 5 January 2015, LTA extended the deadline by two weeks as one of the bus operators keen to participate in the tender process has requested for more time to consolidate their bid for this route package. Apart from incumbents SBS Transit Ltd & SMRT Corporation Ltd who bidded for the Route Package, more than 20 other transport operators have also expressed interest in bidding.

When the tender closed at 1200hrs on 19 January 2015, 11 transport operators had submitted their various bids. These operators were:

Name of Tenderer
Base Tender Amount (1 year)
SMRT Buses Ltd $93,704,434.00
RATP DEV Transdev Asia $106,508,747.00
SBS Transit Ltd $125,218,914.00
Tower Transit Group Limited $125,564,769.00
Busways Group Pty Ltd $127,763,816.00
Keolis SA $131,588,114.32
Woodlands Transport Holdings Pte Ltd $145,946,487.00
The Go-Ahead Group PLC $153,477,183.00
Aedge Holdings Pte Ltd Not Shortlisted
Jiaoyun Group Co., Ltd. / Travel GSH Pte Ltd Not Shortlisted
Jinan Public Transportation Corporation Not Shortlisted

Among the tender requirements was one that required operators to have a proven track record of operating a fleet of at least 250 buses. Such a requirement would result in joint bids, as is the case of Travel GSH which operates around 40 buses.

As of 18 Mar 2015, LTA shortlisted 8 bids for this tender. Aedge Holdings, Jinan PTC & Travel GSH / Qingdao Jiaoyun Grp were dropped out in the running for this tender.

Contract Award:

On Friday, 08 May 2015, LTA announced Tower Transit as the winner of the Bulim Bus Package. 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. The LTA press release sums it well:

Tower Transit, which had the highest combined total score for quality and price, was awarded the contract. In its tender submission, Tower Transit demonstrated a good understanding of ground conditions with proposed bus schedules that closely matched capacity to passenger demand, and with an optimal deployment of buses. The company has strong experience, through its operations in London, in managing en-route bus service reliability. At the same time, Tower Transit emphasised in its proposal a strict maintenance regime for bus assets and infrastructure, with a good bus-to-technician ratio and detailed tracking of maintenance activities and records. In terms of manpower development, Tower Transit has comprehensive plans to attract and retain bus captains, to train and develop new employees with support from experienced employees, and to offer career progression for all levels of staff.

To ensure a smooth transition with minimal inconvenience to commuters, the implementation of the 26 bus services were carried out in three tranches between May and June 2016. These services were supported by the new Bulim Bus Depot located off Bulim Avenue, which was handed over to Tower Transit in the second half of 2015 to allow them sufficient time to recruit and train bus captains and technicians.

Bus Services
Service Route Type
41 Jurong East ↺ Jalan Anak Bukit Trunk
49 Jurong East ↺ Jurong West Street 42 Trunk
Bedok Jurong East Trunk
Bukit Batok Marina Centre Trunk
Jurong Gateway Road ↺ Clementi Avenue 3 Trunk
79 Boon Lay ↺ Jurong Gateway Road Trunk
Clementi ↺ Kent Ridge Crescent Trunk
Jurong East Marina Centre Trunk
Jurong East Marina Centre Express
Jurong East ↺ Jurong Pier Way Trunk
Bukit Batok Shenton Way Trunk
Toa Payoh Jurong East Trunk
Bukit BatokClementi Trunk
Bukit Batok ↺ Jelebu Road Trunk
Jurong East ↺ Science Park Road Trunk
Bukit Batok ↺ Clementi Avenue 1 Trunk
Clementi ↺ Clementi West Street 2 Feeder
Clementi ↺ Clementi Avenue 4 Feeder
Clementi ↺ Pandan Loop Feeder
Jurong East ↺ Jurong East Street 32 Feeder
Jurong East ↺ Jurong West Street 42 Feeder
Jurong East ↺ Jurong West Avenue 1 Feeder
Hume Avenue / Hillview Avenue ⇄ Marina Boulevard / Central Boulevard City Direct
Jurong West Avenue 1 ⇄ Marina Boulevard / Central Boulevard City Direct
Bukit Batok ↺ Bukit Batok West Avenue 9 Feeder
Bukit Batok ↺ Bukit Batok Road Feeder
Bukit Batok ↺ Bukit Batok Street 34 Feeder
Bukit Batok ↺ Bukit Batok Road Feeder
Bukit Batok ↺ Jurong Gateway Road Trunk

Bus Services 653, 657 & 944 are operated by SMRT Buses under Negotiated Contract until the Bulim Bus Package contract renewal progressively from End-May 2021.

Short Trip & Supplementary Bus Services

These services do not add to the overall service count.

Service Route Type
66A Bedok → Bukit Timah Road (Little India Stn Exit A) Short Trip
Jurong East → Serangoon Road (Tekka Ctr) Short Trip
Jurong Gateway Rd (Blk 131) → Tanjong Penjuru (Opp CLP Intl) Short Trip
Boon Lay → Jurong Town Hall Rd (Jurong East Lib) Short Trip
Clementi → Kent Ridge Crescent (NUS Raffles Hall) Short Trip
Clementi → Commonwealth Avenue West (Clementi Stn Exit A) Short Trip
Boon Lay Way (Lakeside Stn) → Corporation Road (Corp Pl) Short Trip
Jurong West Avenue 1 (Blk 490) → Jurong Pier Way (Jurong Island Checkpt) Short Trip
Jurong East ↺ Corporation Road Supplementary
Bukit Batok → Commonwealth Avenue West (Clementi Stn Exit B) Short Trip
Jurong East ↺ Pandan Gardens Supplementary
Bukit Batok → Bukit Batok East Avenue 4 (Blk 254) Short Trip
Jurong East → Toh Tuck Avenue (Aft Toh Tuck Link) Short Trip
Bukit Batok → Bukit Batok Street 23 (Opp Midview Bldg) Short Trip


Bus Models & Fleet

Tower Transit operates a fleet of the following bus models under the 1st term of the Bulim Bus Package (PT200). They initially announced that they would operate 188 double-deck and 179 single-deck buses.

Single Deck Buses
Double Decker Buses

Tower Transit also deploys the buses above to Bus Service 974, City Direct Bus Services 651, 663 & 665 under a negotiated contract.

Transition Dates:

To ensure a smooth transition with minimal inconvenience to commuters, the Bulim package under the Bus Contracting model was implemented in three tranches from May to June 2016. Spaced two weeks apart, the three tranches handed Tower Transit progressive control over Bukit Batok, followed by Jurong East and finally Clementi Bus Interchange.

The implementation dates of the three tranches, as well as other bus services added to the Bulim Bus Package subsequently are as follows:

Tranche Implementation Date Bus Services No. of Routes
1 29 May 2016 77, 106, 173, 177, 189, 941, 945, 947, 990 9
2 12 June 2016 66, 78, 79, 97, 97e, 143/143M 6
3 26 June 2016 41, 49, 96, 98/98M, 183, 282, 284, 285, 333, 334, 335 11
13 April 2017 653 1
24 April 2017 657 1
27 August 2017 944 1


Scope of Operations:

As part of the tender, the awarded operator would be required to fulfill responsibilities as such:

  1. Operate bus services under the bus package in accordance with specified EWT performance standards
  2. Operate and maintain the buses and their onboard equipment provided by LTA
  3. Operate and maintain the allocated Anchor Bus Interchanges & 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 bus services under the package
  6. Provide customer management services, such as lost and found service, and a hotline for commuter feedback and enquiries.
Negotiated Contract:

As part of a Negotiated Contract with SMRT Buses, SMRT Buses will operate Bus Services 653, 657 & 944 until the handover to Tower Transit in the 2nd Tendered Contract term for the Bulim Bus Package progressively from September 2021.

Affected Bus Captains Transfer

To attract more Bus Captains from both SBS Transit & SMRT Buses to join Tower Transit for their operations, Tower Transit came up with an attractive employment package to woo them over.

  • Better Pay
    – Minimum 5% increment on top of current Basic Salary
    – Pay increment every May
    – Performance and safe and smooth driving incentives
  • Better Terms and Conditions
    – Free travel on all MRT lines and buses
    – More paternity, maternity, carer and child care leave
    – Flexible medical benefits
  • Better Jobs
    – Not required to clean, refuel or garage buses at the end of the day
  • Better Facilities
    – Brand new Bulim Bus Depot with focus on comfort and amenities for Bus Captains
    – Upgrades planned for staff facilities at Jurong East & Bukit Batok Bus Interchanges
    – Nearly 380 new/near-new buses from BSEP scheme (Volvo B9TL, Mercedes-Benz Citaro O530, MAN A22 & Alexander Dennis Enviro500)
  • Better Career Progression
    – Career progression based on skills development and performance, not just length of service
    – Company sponsorship for WSQ courses and potentially up to Diploma and Degree courses

Bus Captains who are interested to join Tower Transit Singapore and has expressed interest would receive an offer of employment in mid-October 2015. They have until December 2015 to accept the job offer following which they would undergo familiarisation and training. They would then finally take the wheel for Tower Transit Singapore in May/June 2016.

Bulim Bus Package (PT200) Timeline
  • 2014 (03 Oct): Bulim Route Package announced; Tender open till 5 Jan 2015.
  • 2014 (17 Dec): Tender closing date extended to 19 Jan 2015.
  • 2015 (19 Jan): Tender closed at 12:00 PM
  • 2015 (08 May): Contract awarded to Tower Transit
  • 2016 (29 May): Handover of 9 Bukit Batok Bus Services to Tower Transit
  • 2016 (17 Jun): Handover of 6 Jurong East Bus Services to Tower Transit
  • 2016 (26 Jun): Handover of 7 Jurong East and 4 Clementi Bus Services to Tower Transit
  • 2017 (13 Apr): Addition of City Direct 653 to Bulim Bus Package, operated by SMRT Buses
  • 2017 (27 Aug): Addition of Service 944 to Bulim Bus Package, operated by SMRT Buses
  • 2020 (08 Apr): Bus Services 97e, 653 & 657 temporarily suspended due to Singapore COVID-19 Circuit Breaker Measures.
  • 2020 (02 Jun): Resumption of Bus Services 97e, 653 & 657.
  • 2020 (06 Dec): Jurong East Int relocation amendments; Service 78 amended to Jurong Gateway Rd – Clementi Ave 3 (Loop), Service 78A amended to start at Jurong Gateway Rd (Blk 131), Service 79 amended to Boon Lay Int – Jurong Gateway Rd (Loop), Service 79A amended to start from Boon Lay Int and end at Jurong Town Hall Rd (Jurong East Lib)

External Links & References:

Back to Bus Contracting Model

Page 2 – Bulim Bus Package 2nd Term (PT217)

5 thoughts on “Bulim Bus Package

  • 3 September 2020 at 9:48 PM

    Slow driving is because got schedule to follow.
    Rude bus captain…. possible…
    Bus poorly maintained… ABSOLUTELY YES!!!

  • 15 July 2020 at 10:29 PM

    People expect BCs to smile,to listen to them and in return did you all care about the BC?No because we are too selfish expect everything first class by paying peanuts.The more expectations the stress the BC will become.Give it a rest!Hope TTS win Sembawang-Yishun and retain Bulim.

  • 6 April 2020 at 6:51 PM

    High chance TTS will retain this package.Other option SMRT & GAS has equal chance to win.

  • 23 March 2020 at 10:21 PM

    Really hope foreign companies like Firstgroup,BVG or RATP Dev win this.Tower standards has dropped ever since the new CEO took over,At lot of unnecessary cost saving measures to the expense of BCs and technicians.

    Rest assured the future Tengah Blvd temp int will be included into this package and the Clementi based services will goes into Clementi package.

  • 16 March 2020 at 12:36 AM

    I really hope Smrt Buses win this contract or atleast SBS Transit. Please for god sake not that lousy tower transit. Very hopeless company. Slow driving, rude bus captains and buses are poorly mantained. .


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *