Sembawang–Yishun Bus Package

Refer to Page 2 for details on the Negotiated Contract term for the Sembawang–Yishun Bus Package, which was operated by SMRT Buses from 1 Sep 2016 till 2 Oct 2021.

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

Incumbent Tower Transit Singapore Pte Ltd
(Tower Transit)
Present Contract Term Tendered Package 1st Term (Contract PT217B):
05 Sep 2021 – 2026
Bus Services
167, 169, 171, 656, 663, 670, 801, 825, 853/853M, 854, 854e, 855, 856, 857, 858, 859/859A/859B, 882, 883/883M, 963, 963e, 965, 966, 969, 980 & 981 (25 bus routes)
Bus Depot Mandai Bus Depot
Bus Interchanges Yishun Bus Interchange
Sembawang Bus Interchange (from 3 Oct 2021)
Lorong 1 Geylang Bus Terminal (from 3 Oct 2021)
Former Yishun Temporary Bus Interchange (facility upkeep)

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.

This package comprises bus services mainly originating from Sembawang Bus InterchangeYishun Bus Interchange and Woodlands Integrated Transport Hub, with a handful originating at Yio Chu Kang, Resorts World Sentosa and Marina Centre.

Bus operations for the Tendered Package is based off the new Mandai Bus Depot, located off Mandai Road and integrated with Mandai Train Depot.

PT217B SembawangYishun Bus Package (Current Term: 2021 to 2026):

The tendered contract for the SembawangYishun Bus Package was put up for tender in November 2019 together with the Bulim Bus Package under Contract PT217.

In September 2020, Tower Transit Singapore Pte Ltd secured the SembawangYishun Bus Package & Bulim Bus Package combined tender, based on a tender sum of $1.025 billion over five years.

The bus routes are based out of the newly-built Mandai Bus Depot, located off Mandai Road, which was handed over to Tower Transit in October 2020 and is able to accommodate 550 buses.

Tower Transit starts with a fleet of 409 buses when implemented in September 2021 for bus services under the SembawangYishun Bus Package.

Contract PT217: Bus Contracting – Bulim and Sembawang-Yishun Bus Packages
Sembawang Yishun Bus Package (PT217B)
Awarded Operator Tower Transit
(Tower Transit Singapore Pte Ltd)
Duration Five years, with option of 2 year extension based on good performance
Key Dates Tender Published 29 Nov 2019 | Closed 30 Mar 2020 | Awarded 30 Sep 2020
Commenced Operations 5 Sep 2021 – Services 171, 663, 670, 853/853M, 854, 854e, 855, 856 & 857
19 Sep 2021 – Services 169, 858, 963, 963e, 963R, 965, 966, 969
3 Oct 2021 – Services 167, 656, 825, 859/859A/859B, 882, 883/883M, 980, 981, N1 & N2
23 Jan 2022 – Service 801
Bus Services 167, 169, 171, 656, 663, 670, 801, 825, 853/853M, 854, 854e, 855, 856, 857, 858, 859/859A/859B, 882, 883/883M, 963, 963e, 965, 966, 969, 980 & 981 (25 bus routes)
Anchor Bus Depot Mandai Bus Depot
Anchor Bus Interchange / Terminal Sembawang Bus Interchange, Yishun Bus Interchange, Lorong 1 Geylang Bus Terminal
Former Yishun Temporary Bus Interchange (facility upkeep)


Bidding Procedures:

As part of the bidding requirements, bus operators had the option to bid for either bus package (Bulim / Sembawang – Yishun) or for both packages that were up for tender under this contract (PT217).

When the tender closed on 30 Mar 2020, 6 operators made their bid under the contract.

Bid Prices:
No. Company Bulim only:
Bid Price (5 years)
Sembawang-Yishun only:
Bid Price (5 years)
Bulim + Sembawang-Yishun:
Bid Price (5 years)
1 SBS Transit Ltd (Alt)* $443,133,709 $567,294,369 $1,003,089,771
2 SBS Transit Ltd (Base) $446,227,073 $569,935,356 $1,008,839,217
3 Tower Transit Singapore Pte Ltd $482,432,845 $582,062,354 $1,025,102,939
4 The Go-Ahead Group Plc $477,534,701 $591,490,758 $1,057,664,162
5 SMRT Buses Ltd $540,964,300 $695,945,217 $1,189,635,606
6 Guangzhou Public Transportation Group No.3 Bus Co., Ltd Not Shortlisted


  • The price for five years comprises one-off pre-operation costs, as well as the total service fee and lease charges for assets provided by LTA (excluding any adjustment for inflation, change in wage levels and fuel costs, service variation or incentive payment during the contract period).
  • *SBS Transit’s alternative proposal differs from the base proposal by having fewer bus captains and lower non-revenue mileage, to be achieved by launching buses from other bus depots under its negotiated contracts. This is similar to SBS Transit’s existing arrangements at Ulu Pandan Bus Depot.
Contract Award:

On 30 September 2020, LTA awarded Tower Transit both Bulim & Sembawang–Yishun Bus Packages. Tender submissions were evaluated based on a two-envelope process which looked at both quality and price factors. The price submissions were only opened after the quality evaluation was completed. The LTA press release indicated their reason for award:

TTS was awarded the contract for the combined package, because it received the highest total score taking into account both price and quality factors in its proposal. TTS demonstrated an excellent understanding of the operational considerations and a strong commitment towards enhancing inclusivity and commuter experience on public transport through the following:

a) Its strong competence in bus service scheduling that will enable the optimal deployment of buses and resources;

b) Its plan to work with the relevant agencies, such as the Public Transport Council and social service agencies, to introduce a Public Bus Confidence Course to familiarise the elderly and less mobile commuters with use of our public bus services;

c) Its plan to hire more persons with disabilities as its customer experience and inclusivity officers to leverage their personal experience in challenges faced by this group of commuters on public buses. This will help identify gaps and enhance inclusivity for bus infrastructure and services; and

d) Its commitment to concentrating its recruitment efforts on building a stronger Singaporean core.


The award of the Sembawang–Yishun Bus Package to Tower Transit would result SMRT Buses transferring 26 of its existing bus services to Tower Transit progressively from September 2021. In addition, Tower Transit will assume the role of anchor operator at Sembawang Bus Interchange, Yishun Integrated Transport Hub and Lorong 1 Geylang Bus Terminal, hence taking over SMRT Buses in managing these transport facilities.

In a press release by SeaLink Travel Group Limited, which wholly owns subsidiary Tower Transit Singapore Pte Ltd, the contract commencement date for Sembawang–Yishun Bus Package was stated to be on 5 September 2021.

Changes in Bus Services:

Service 670 was not part of the announced bus routes for the Sembawang–Yishun Bus Package (Tendered Contract) term in September 2020 by the Land Transport Authority. However, in August 2021, Tower Transit announced that they would be operating the bus service under the Sembawang–Yishun Bus Package from 5 September 2021.

Night services N1 & N2 were previously announced to be operated by Tower Transit under the Sembawang–Yishun Bus Package from 3 Oct 2021. However, the former NightRider services NR1 & NR2 remain suspended from April 2020 until its withdrawal in June 2022. As such, the planned services N1 & N2 never commenced revenue service.

Bus Services
Service Route Type
167 SembawangBukit Merah Trunk
169 Woodlands Ang Mo Kio Trunk
171 Yishun ↺ Upper Bukit Timah Road Trunk
656 Canberra Road ⇄ Shenton Way / Anson Road City Direct
663 Yishun Avenue 6 ⇄ Shenton Way / Anson Road City Direct
670 Yishun Avenue 7 ⇄ Marina Boulevard / Central Boulevard City Direct
801 Yishun ↺ Yishun Avenue 1 Feeder
825 Yio Chu Kang ↺ Lentor Loop Trunk
853 Yishun Lorong 1 Geylang Trunk
854 Yishun Bedok Trunk
854e YishunBedok Express
855 Yishun HarbourFront Trunk
856 Yishun Woodlands Trunk
857 Yishun ↺ Temasek Avenue Trunk
858 Woodlands ↺ Changi Airport Trunk
859 SembawangYishun Trunk
882 Sembawang ↺ Sembawang Road Trunk
883 Sembawang ↺ Yishun Central 2 Trunk
963 Woodlands HarbourFront Trunk
963e Woodlands HarbourFront Express
965 Woodlands (Temporary Bus Interchange)Sengkang Trunk
966 Woodlands ↺ Marine Parade Road Trunk
969 Woodlands Tampines Trunk
980 Sembawang Lorong 1 Geylang Trunk
981 Sembawang ⇄ Senoko Loop / Senoko Road Trunk
Short Trip & Supplementary Bus Services

These services do not add to the overall service count.

Service Route Type
169A Woodlands → Yishun Avenue 2 (Opp Yishun Stn) Short Trip
169B Woodlands → Woodlands Avenue 8 (Bef W’lands Ind Pk E3) Short Trip
853M Yishun Upper East Coast Supplementary
856A Woodlands → Woodlands Centre Road (W’lands Train Checkpt) Short Trip
856B Woodlands North Coast Road (Woodlands Nth Stn) → Canberra Road (Aft Admiral Hill) Short Trip
857A Yishun → Yio Chu Kang Road (Opp Sunrise Gdns) Short Trip
857B Yishun Temasek Avenue (Aft Promenade Stn Exit C) Short Trip
858A Woodlands → Yishun Avenue 2 (Opp Yishun Stn) Short Trip
858B Jalan Kayu (Bef Seletar Camp G) → Jalan Kayu (Aft Seletar Camp G) Short Trip
859A Sembawang ↺ Admiralty Link Short Trip
859B Sembawang ↺ Sembawang Crescent Short Trip
859T Sembawang → Yishun Terminating Trip
882A Sembawang → Montreal Link (Blk 592A) Short Trip
883B Yishun Avenue 2 (Yishun Stn) → Sembawang Road (Opp Blk 590C) Short Trip
883M Sembawang ↺ Yishun Avenue 5 Supplementary
965A Woodlands (Temporary Bus Interchange) → Yishun Avenue 2 (Opp Yishun Stn) Short Trip
965T Woodlands (Temporary Bus Interchange) → Sengkang Terminating Trip
966A Woodlands Marine Parade Road (Opp Parkway Parade) Short Trip
969A Tampines → Yishun Avenue 2 (Yishun Stn) Short Trip


Bus Models & Fleet

Tower Transit currently operates the following bus models for the Sembawang–Yishun Bus Package, based in Mandai Bus Depot.

Single Deck Buses
Double Decker Buses
Articulated Buses

Transition Dates:
Tranche Transition Date Bus Services No. of Routes
1 5 September 2021 171, 663*, 670, 853/853M, 854, 854e, 855, 856 & 857 9
2 19 September 2021 169, 858, 963, 963e, 963R*, 965, 966 & 969
3 3 October 2021 167, 656, 825, 859/859A/859B, 882, 883/883M, 980, 981, N1* & N2*


  • City Direct 663 was transferred from the Bulim Bus Package on 5 Sep 2021 with no change in operator (Tower Transit)
  • City Direct 670 was not part of the announced bus services under the Sembawang-Yishun Bus Package (Tendered Package) term in September 2020. However, Tower Transit announced that it will operate City Direct 670 from 5 Sep 2021 which indicates that City Direct 670 was added to the Sembawang-Yishun Bus Package (Tendered Package) term.
  • Bus Services 963R, N1 & N2 remain suspended until its withdrawal in June 2022 (NightRider NR1 & NR2 instead of N1 & N2)

See Also: Tower Transit – Transitioning to Sembawang-Yishun Bus Package

Affected Bus Captains Transfer

Affected SMRT employees of the Sembawang–Yishun bus package will be protected by the Guidelines on Good Employment Practices in the Public Bus Industry. All employees affected by new tender or change in bus service contracts must be offered a job by the incoming operator, at employment terms that are not worse-off than what they have been enjoying before transition.

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.

Upkeep of former Yishun Temporary Bus Interchange

Upkeep of the premises (such as having cleaners in the facility) is undertaken by Tower Transit as part of the Sembawang-Yishun Bus Package from 5 Sep 2021, although no bus services are being operated from Yishun Temporary Bus Interchange.

The facility is currently used as a Covid-19 swab centre.

Sembawang–Yishun Bus Package (PT217B) Timeline:
  • 2019 (29 Nov): Sembawang–Yishun Bus Package tendered contract released with a combined contract for Bulim Bus Package.
  • 2020 (30 Mar): Tender closed with 5 bids received.
  • 2020 (30 Sep): Sembawang–Yishun Bus Package (tendered contract) awarded to Tower Transit
  • 2020 (30 Oct): Handover of Mandai Bus Depot to Tower Transit
  • 2020 (14 Dec): Express 167e removed from the Bus Package following its withdrawal
  • 2021 (05 Sep): Commencement of tendered package term for Sembawang-Yishun Bus Package; handover of 8 Yishun bus services to Tower Transit from SMRT Buses
  • 2021 (19 Sep): Handover of 8 Woodlands bus services to Tower Transit from SMRT Buses; Service 963R continue to be suspended
  • 2021 (03 Oct): Handover of 10 Sembawang / Yio Chu Kang bus services to Tower Transit from SMRT Buses; Service N1 & N2 suspended until further notice
  • 2022 (23 Jan): Bus Service 801 added to the bus package
  • 2022 (30 Jun): Bus Services 963R, N1 (as NR1) & N2 (as NR2) withdrawn
  • 2023 (25 Jan): Short Trip Services 856A & 856B added
  • 2023 (17 Nov): Initial announcement by the Land Transport Authority that Bus Service 167 to be withdrawn on 10 Dec 2023 as part of the Thomson-East Coast Line 3 Bus Service Rationalisation
  • 2023 (28 Nov): Update by the Land Transport Authority that Bus Service 167 will operate at 30 minute intervals throughout the day from 17 Dec 2023 instead as part of the Thomson-East Coast Line 3 Bus Service Rationalisation


Back to Bus Contracting Model

Page 2 – Sembawang-Yishun Bus Package Negotiated Contract (2016 – 2021)