Bus Contracting Model (BCM) Route Package #1:
“Bulim Bus Package” (28 bus routes)
First announced in May 2014 and published in Oct 2014, the first package of public bus services under the new Bus Contracting Model (BCM) comprises 26 existing bus services (with 2 new bus services added in 2017 (944) & 2018 (991)) originating from the Jurong East, Bukit Batok and Clementi Bus Interchanges, and terminating at Bedok, Boon Lay, Marina Centre, Shenton Way and Toa Payoh. 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).
Originally, LTA planned for 24 bus services in the Bulim Bus Package. In the Oct 2014 revision, LTA had revised the figure to 26 bus services in total, 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 then 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 is 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.
Contract Details (1st Term):
|Name||PT200: Bus Contracting – Bulim Bus Package|
(Tower Transit Singapore Pte Ltd)
|Duration||Five years, with two-year extension granted based on good performance|
|Key Dates||Published 3 Oct 2014
Closed 19 Jan 2015 (12:00 PM)
Awarded 08 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
27 August 2017 (Negotiated Contract with SMRT Buses) – Service 944
08 July 2018 (Negotiated Contract with SMRT Buses) – Service 991
|Bus Services||41, 49, 66, 77, 78, 79, 96, 97, 97e, 98/M, 106, 143/M, 173, 177, 183, 189, 282, 284, 285, 333, 334, 335, 941, 944*, 945, 947, 990, 991*|
|Bus Depot||Bulim Bus Depot|
|Bus Interchanges / Terminals
||Jurong East, Bukit Batok|
* – Operated by SMRT Buses under Negotiated Contract until Bus Package contract renewal
Originally closing on 5 Jan 2015, LTA extended the deadline by two weeks to 19 Jan 2015 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.
As of the tender closing time at 1200hrs on 19 January 2015, 11 transport operators have submitted their various bids. These 11 operators are:
- SBS Transit Ltd ($125.2 Million per year)
- SMRT Buses Ltd ($93.7 Million per year)
- Aedge Holdings Pte Ltd
- Woodlands Transport ($145.9 Million per year)
- Busways Group (Australia) ($127.8 Million per year)
- Go Ahead Group (United Kingdom) ($153.5 Million per year)
- Tower Transit Group (United Kingdom) ($125.6 Million per year)
RATP Dev Transdev Asia (France) ($141 Million per year)
- Keolis (France) ($131.6 Million per year)
- Jinan Public Transportation Corporation (China)
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.
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 would be supported by the new Bulim Bus Depot located off Bulim Avenue, which was be handed over to Tower Transit in the second half of 2015 to allow them sufficient time to recruit and train bus captains and technicians.
Contract Details (2nd Term):
|Name||PT217: Bus Contracting – Bulim and Sembawang-Yishun Bus Packages|
|Duration||Five years, with two-year extension granted based on good performance|
||Published – 29 Nov 2019
Closing Date – 30 Mar 2020
|Bus Depot*||Bulim Bus Depot|
|Bus Interchanges*||Jurong East, Bukit Batok|
– As the tender is for both Bulim Bus Package & Sembawang-Yishun Bus Package, only the Bulim Bus Package details are reflected above.
*As the Land Transport Authority did not state the various bus services under Bulim Bus Package & Sembawang-Yishun Bus Package in its recent Bus Contracting Tender in response to news outlets, or through any press releases, bus services listed here (28 Routes) may vary with the actual bus services up for tender (29 Routes).
|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 East ↺ Clementi Avenue 3||Trunk|
|79||Jurong East ↺ Boon Lay||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 Batok ↺ Clementi||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 Street 41||Feeder|
||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|
||Bukit Batok ↔ Choa Chu Kang||Trunk|
Bus Services 944 & 991 are operated by SMRT Buses under Negotiated Contract until the Bulim Bus Package contract renewal.
Short Trip & Supplementary Bus Services
These services do not add to the overall service count.
|66A||Bedok → Bukit Timah Road (Little India Stn Exit A)||Short Trip|
||Jurong East → Serangoon Road (Tekka Ctr)||Short Trip|
||Jurong East → Tanjong Penjuru (Opp CLP Intl)||Short Trip|
||Jurong East → Boon Lay||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|
||Bukit Batok → Bukit Batok West Avenue 3 (Princess E Pr Sch)||Short Trip|
||Choa Chu Kang → Choa Chu Kang Avenue 1 (Opp Choa Chu Kang Mkt)||Short Trip|
Bus Services 991A & 991B are operated by SMRT Buses under Negotiated Contract until the Bulim Bus Package contract renewal.
Under the Bulim Bus Package, Tower Transit operates a fleet of the following bus models:
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 are as follows:
No of Routes
29 May 2016
77, 106, 173, 177, 189, 941, 945, 947, 990
12 June 2016
66, 78, 79, 97, 97e, 143/143M
26 June 2016
41, 49, 96, 98/98M, 183, 282, 284, 285, 333, 334, 335
27 August 2017
08 July 2018
Scope of Tender:
As part of the tender, the new Operator would be required to fulfill responsibilities as such:
- Operate the twenty-six (26) bus services in the Bukit Batok, Clementi, Jurong East and Jurong West areas in accordance with specified EWT performance standards
- Operate and maintain the buses and their onboard equipment provided by LTA
- Operate and maintain the Bukit Batok and Jurong East Bus Interchanges, and the new Bulim Bus Depot, including all equipment and systems provided therein
- Charge and collect the fares approved by the Public Transport Council, on behalf of the Government
- Provide bus service information at all bus stops and bus interchanges served by the 26 bus services
- Provide customer management services, such as lost and found service, and a hotline for commuter feedback and enquiries.
All bus services would 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 would run at even shorter intervals of 6-8 minutes. An estimated 45% of bus services would 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.
As part of the Negotiated Contract with SMRT Buses under the Bulim Bus Package, SMRT Buses will operate Bus Services 944 & 991 until the contract renewal.
Affected Bus Captains Transfer
To attract more Bus Captains from both SBS Transit & SMRT Buses to join Tower Transit for their operations, Tower Transit has 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 (SBS Transit, SMRT & Tower Transit Singapore)
– 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.
Bus Interchanges & Terminals under the package:
Bus Depot under the package:
Route Package 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 closes on 12:00 PM
- 2015 (08 May): Tender 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 (27 Aug): Addition of Service 944 to Bulim Bus Package, operated by SMRT Buses
- 2018 (08 Jul): Addition of Service 991 to Bulim Bus Package, operated by SMRT Buses
- 2019 (29 Nov): 2nd Term for Bulim Bus Package released with a combined contract for Sembawang-Yishun Bus Package.
- 2020 (30 Mar): Tender closed with 5 bids received.
- 2020 (08 Apr): Bus Service 97e temporarily suspended due to Singapore COVID-19 Circuit Breaker Measures.
- 2020 (02 Jun): Resumption of Bus Service 97e.
External Links & References:
- First bus package under the government contracting model up for tender – LTA
- Four new bus services by March – The Straits Times
- …11 Bids Submitted for Bulim Bus Package – Today Online
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