SBS Transit and SMRT Buses awarded Bukit Merah and Jurong West Bus Packages

SBS Transit and SMRT Buses have been awarded the Bukit Merah and Jurong West Bus Packages respectively, as the Land Transport Authority (LTA) announced on 18 August 2023. These contracts will commence from 2Q 2024 and are estimated at a total fee of $890 million over a five-year contract period.

For the Bukit Merah Bus Package, SBS Transit secures a further five-year extension and remains the incumbent operator. It currently operates 17 bus services from Ulu Pandan Bus Depot under this package.

For the Jurong West Bus Package, SMRT Buses will succeed SBS Transit as the operator of 26 bus services in the Jurong West region, operating from Soon Lee Bus Depot. These services and the use of the depot will be handed over to SMRT by September 2024. SMRT Buses will also manage Boon Lay Interchange, Joo Koon Interchange, and Tuas Terminal.

Both route packages were tendered out under Contract PT218Bus Contracting – Bukit Merah and Jurong West Bus Packages. Six companies took part in the tendering, including all four incumbent PTOs (SBST, SMRT, TTS, GAS) alongside foreign firms National Express Group and Transdev Group.

Bus Packages at a glance

Under the Bus Contracting Model, 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. Bus interchanges and terminals allocated to each package will also be maintained by the operator.

Contract PT218A: Bukit Merah Bus Package

Bukit Merah Bus Package was first awarded to SBS Transit in February 2018 under Contract PT203 after its negotiated contract expired in Nov 2018. The initial 5-year term was extended by five months.

The most recent award will see SBS Transit being retained as the incumbent for a subsequent 5-year term.

Incumbent SBS Transit Ltd
Present Contract Term Tendered Package 1st Term (Contract PT203):
Nov 2018 – Apr 2024 (5-year term + 5 months contract extension)
Upcoming Contract Term
Tendered Package 2nd Term (Contract PT218A):
Apr 2024 – 2029
Bus Services 5, 16/16M, 57, 93, 120, 121, 122, 123/123M, 131, 145, 160/160M, 170/170X, 195, 198, 272, 273 & 400 (17 bus routes)
Bus Depot Ulu Pandan Bus Depot
Bus Interchanges Bukit MerahHarbourFront
Bus Terminals Kampong Bahru, Queen Street, Shenton Way, Marina Centre

Reasons for the award to SBS Transit were provided by LTA:

  • Highest total score for Bukit Merah Bus Package, taking into account both price and quality factors
  • Displayed an excellent understanding of the operational considerations for the Bukit Merah Bus Package
  • Compelling value-added proposals to improve service delivery, environmental sustainability and promote public transport usage such as:
    • Proposal to deploy Minibot, a self-service mobile concierge, as part of its customer service enhancements
    • Aim to achieve ‘Net Zero Energy Building’ as part of its sustainability efforts, through optimising energy and water usage
    • Committed to establishing a new Bus Captain Training and Certification Centre

SBS Transit submitted both a base proposal and an alternative proposal for the Bukit Merah Bus Package. While both proposals are of the same quality, the alternative proposal offers better value for money with a more efficient use of resources for the LTA.

No elaboration was provided by LTA on the alternative proposal. However, based on existing operations, SBS Transit is likely to garage buses for Bukit Merah Bus Package at other bus depots and also garage buses for other bus packages at Ulu Pandan Bus Depot to reduce dead mileage incurred by the operator. These operations are detailed in our main article on the Bukit Merah Bus Package.


Supplementary Bus Service 160M was renumbered to Trunk Service 993 in September 2023, taking the service count of the Bukit Merah Bus Package to 18.

Contract PT218B: Jurong West Bus Package

Jurong West Bus Package has been operated by SBS Transit under a negotiated contract since the start of the BCM in September 2016.

SMRT Buses will succeed SBS Transit as the operator of this package based out of Soon Lee Bus Depot, which will also be handed over to SMRT. This marks the first time that an existing bus depot has been acquired by the LTA and leased out under the BCM.

Incumbent SBS Transit Ltd
Present Contract Term
Negotiated Contract (Contract PT212):
Sep 2016 – Sep 2024 (8-year term)
Upcoming Contract Term
Tendered Package 1st Term (Contract PT218B):
Sep 2024 – 2029
Awarded Operator
SMRT Buses Ltd
Bus Services
179/179A, 181/181M, 182/182M, 185, 192, 193, 194, 199, 240/240M, 241, 242, 243G/243W, 246, 247, 248/248M, 249, 251, 252, 253, 254, 255, 257, 258, 405, 502/502A & 974 (26 bus routes)
Handover Date From Sep 2024
Bus Depot Soon Lee Bus Depot
Bus Interchanges Boon Lay, Joo Koon
Bus Terminals Tuas

Reasons for the award to SMRT Buses were provided by LTA:

  • Highest total score for Jurong West Bus Package, taking into account both price and quality factors
  • Displayed an excellent understanding of the operational considerations for the Jurong West Bus Package
  • Compelling value-added proposals to improve service delivery, and environmental sustainability and promote public transport usage such as:
    • Proposal to deploy an AI-enabled CCTV system to identify commuters who need help
    • Leverage its WINK + application to promote the use of public transport and incentivise off-peak travel

The loss of Soon Lee Bus Depot for SBS Transit will also necessitate some restructuring of its operations in the Jurong West region as its bus services can no longer be garaged there. The depot currently supports partial operations of several bus services allocated to other bus packages, such as Bus Service 198 (Bukit Merah Bus Package) and 30 (Bedok Bus Package).

Transition of impacted workers

Current SBST employees from the Jurong West bus package will be protected by the Guidelines on Good Employment Practices in the Public Bus Industry and must be offered a job by SMRT, the incoming operator, at employment terms that are no worse off compared to current employment terms.

Fleet – Jurong West Bus Package

SBS Transit currently operates a fleet of the following bus models under the Jurong West Bus Package:

Bid Prices

Bus operators were invited to submit bids for the two bus packages individually and/or a combined bid for both. Awarded tenderers and their respective contract sums are highlighted in red. Both winning bids were also the lowest-priced bids submitted in their respective categories.

No. Company Bukit Merah only:
Bid Price (5 years)
Jurong West only:
Bid Price (5 years)
Bukit Merah + Jurong West:
Bid Price (5 years)
1 SBS Transit Ltd (Alt)* $476,457,752.81 $420,902,393.84 $895,778,967.55
2 SBS Transit Ltd (Base) $491,641,316.29 $429,656,171.78 $910,628,272.60
3 SMRT Buses Ltd $496,358,548.80 $411,533,323.80 $919,753,252.66
4 Tower Transit Singapore Pte Ltd (Alt)* $532,673,769.20 $426,965,612.42 $955,593,032.56
5 Tower Transit Singapore Pte Ltd (Base) $544,073,539.20 $443,481,072.00 $986,960,705.20
6 The Go-Ahead Group Ltd (Alt)* $576,133,505.00 $479,010,698.00 $1,040,081,690.00
7 The Go-Ahead Group Ltd (Base) $580,122,714.00 $485,927,362.00 $1,050,987,563.00
8 Transdev Group S.A. (Alt) $597,463,961.99 NA $1,073,700,749.93
9 Transdev Group S.A. (Base) $598,810,542.79 $518,571,774.82 $1,075,030,145.48
10 National Express Group PLC $563,008,737.00 $536,058,617.00 $1,063,822,760.00

According to LTA, the 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. This two-envelope process ensures that LTA gets the best value-for-money proposal without compromising on quality.

The total price of the two individual winning bids was also more attractive when compared to the bid prices received for the combined package.

Tender Extension

LTA has the option to extend each contract by between two and five years at the end of the five-year term. This is in contrast to previous BCM terms, which were offered with extensions of up to two years only.

See Also:


55 thoughts on “SBS Transit and SMRT Buses awarded Bukit Merah and Jurong West Bus Packages

  • 26 August 2023 at 8:54 AM

    I hope 174 and 198 gets added to Jurong West package.

  • 23 August 2023 at 1:11 PM

    Actually, considering the same depot will be used before and after the transition, I am expecting most of the fleet to be adjusted within this one year period (September 2023 to September 2024), with minor fleet replacement during the transition itself (only to replace non-BCM bus models).

    As mentioned, the Jurong West Bus Package bus routes may need some capacity adjustment, as some bus services tend to be operating at overcapacity. This transition period will provide an excellent opportunity to right-size the capacity of the Jurong West Bus Package bus fleet.

    Considering it’s a multistorey bus depot, I don’t think they will use bendy buses, even though the incoming bus operator is SMRT.

    Anyway, regarding the fleet adjustment to all BCM fleet, the outgoing model is probably just the Scania K230UB (SD) only. They will probably be replaced with just the MAN A22 Euro 6 (SD). Maybe even the Mercedes-Benz Citaro (SD) could potentially be replaced with MAN A22 Euro 6 (SD) buses, so that there is a single-model SD fleet, to reap economies of scale.

    The rest of the bus fleets are probably BCM fleet already, maybe just a little bit of the SBS-owned Volvo B9TL (DD) that need to transfer to LTA or replaced with LTA+owned Double Decker buses only. Similarly, the DD fleet may even be standardised to Volvo B9TLs to reap economies of scale.

    SMRT, may have a better way of maintaining the buses, and their performance may be optimised with standardised bus models.

    I am personally looking forward to the takeover of the Jurong West Bus Package by SMRT, because it may help to improve the overall operations of the Jurong West Bus Package, from the operating aspect to the passenger service aspect.

    • 24 August 2023 at 1:02 PM

      Well, according to sgwiki, there are currently about 71 units of the Scania K230UB buses and about 46 units of the Mercedes Benz Citaro buses in Soon Lee Depot; total = about 117. There are currently 129 units of the MAN A22 buses in LTA storage. Therefore, it is indeed possible to standardise the single decker bus fleet of the Jurong West Bus Package to all MAN A22 buses.

      • 27 August 2023 at 11:16 AM

        SMRT only lease the storage A22 to offset the Euro IV KUB and also for spare buses.No need to standardised fleet to all A22s.You must take note the upcoming Sengkang-Hougang also need some storage A22/Citaro to offset the Euro IV KUBs too.

        Jurong West Package just need 67 single and 219 double deckers excluding spare buses.Don’t count those dual depot control service like 30,51 etc.

        Upper 2 decks can only intake 320 buses while the ground floor only supports around 100 plus buses.So SMRT will take the opportunity to park their current Bulim-Based buses here.Suspect part of 172,178,187,180 will park here.61 & 991 will go back to KJ while the EV bus service will continue to use Bulim.

  • 22 August 2023 at 6:52 PM

    Actually, just wondering, can a multistorey bus depot support bendy buses? Otherwise, really no chance of seeing bendy buses on Boon Lay feeders.

    • 23 August 2023 at 2:07 PM

      Unless the slope is wide enough,But I don’t think so cause I’ve ever been to SL twice.

  • 20 August 2023 at 5:00 PM

    We are going to see SMRT KUB!

    • 20 August 2023 at 11:01 PM

      Haha i really hope so really would be nice seeing kub on smrt service and even tower transit

      • 21 August 2023 at 12:52 PM

        Yes, I do hope that SMRT will get KUBs in same manner as how TT has already got OCs

        I also hope that SMRT will get some Batch 1 and Batch 2A Wright B9TL (the low entry version)…

      • 21 August 2023 at 7:41 PM

        If any KUBs are getting requisitioned it would have to be the €5 version. All €4 and before vehicles are progressively being retired.

        • 22 August 2023 at 6:39 PM

          Yeah I concurred with you,The SL E4 will be phased out before the handover and will be replaced by storage buses

          • 2 September 2023 at 11:37 AM

            Electric buses you mean, cuz LTA procure 400 E-bus

    • 22 August 2023 at 5:16 PM

      Am surprised to see Jurong West Bus Package have less than 280 buses in total.

      Assuming 20 spare buses additional, this Depot will only hold 300 buses tops, half of the capacity this Depot can hold.

      It’s surprising SBST have to move their entire assets out of SLBP to other depots cum 2024, which may be a problem for 51 and 105, where most of their fleet are at SLBP because HGDEP have over 700 buses despite the fact that some services had moved to Loyang from hougang when GA took over.

      Hopefully Sengkang West is up soon so it can relieve hougang overcrowding and start the tender for sengkang-hougang package, considering it too also expires in 2024 after given an extension already.

      • 23 August 2023 at 3:13 PM

        Don’t know if SKDEP is ready yet. I understand the construction was delayed due to Covid-19.

        • 25 August 2023 at 11:11 AM

          Hopefully SBST can stay in SLBP but must not take more than 190 lots.

        • 26 August 2023 at 3:28 PM

          I think before mid 2024…Looks 70% completed.

  • 19 August 2023 at 7:30 AM

    30 probably Updep-Bndep
    154 Updep-Hgdep
    157 Updep-Brbp
    174 Updep or last minute change to Jurong West SMRT.
    198 might go full Updep.
    197 Bbdep-Bndep.
    All Kent Ridge go back to Bbdep.
    Buona Vista and Ghim Moh to Updep.

    • 19 August 2023 at 12:53 PM

      Yeah, I find it weird that they didn’t put 174 under JW. At least have another trunk route from Boon Lay to Orchard and CBD in addition to 502.

      • 19 August 2023 at 3:23 PM

        Cause JW already tanked so many JIS..But again it’s weird unless there’s some route modification in future.LTA scholars too wise until bus package occurred so many dead mileage.Look at service 187,Off service from Woodlands to Boon Lay..Should have been into JW.Look at 136,Should have stay at Seletar.

        Well Go-Ahead this time either make it or break it.2024 only CCK-BPJ & Sengkang-Hougang to bid.Else wait for 2026 bye2…Very hard to sustain with only 1 package.They need at least 2 packages to survive longer.

          • 20 August 2023 at 12:48 PM

            136 better in seletar. Same goes for 825

          • 20 August 2023 at 6:06 PM

            169 and 825 can be easily swapped for 801 and 852.

          • 21 August 2023 at 9:24 PM

            85 and 110 should swap bus packages with each other also, that is 85 should be under SMRT Woodlands Bus Package, while 110 should be under Go Ahead Loyang Bus Package.

        • 22 August 2023 at 5:32 PM

          It’s highly likely 187 will cross Depot with SLBP in the future, just like how UPDEP does it.

          • 24 August 2023 at 9:28 PM

            Let’s not forget that SMRT’s one is just base, not alternate. Meaning to say, most probably SMRT will operate the Jurong West Bus Package as a separate entity from the rest of its current operations.

        • 24 August 2023 at 9:26 PM

          Going by Jurong West Bus Package trend, whereby everyone is saying that it is awarded to SMRT actually it’s because the Jurong Region Line will be going to SBS Transit,

          Based on this logic, the Sengkang-Hougang Bus Package got chance of being awarded to a non-SBST bus operator.

          Whereas for CCK-BP, it may still remain with SMRT, or go to a non-SBST bus operator. The reason is because many of the long-distance trunk routes actually run along the SBS Transit-operated Downtown Line.

          Go Ahead, currently only operates the Loyang Bus Package, which is based out of the Loyang Bus Depot.

          If Go Ahead notices the trend of lowest cost bidder gets the contract, and propose base proposal (operate each package separately) and alternate proposal (depot sharing for some bus services), they may actually get to retain the Loyang Bus Package and expand their operations to the Sengkang-Hougang Bus Package.

          Likewise for SMRT, actually. The Jurong West Bus Package’s 974, and the Choa Chu Kang Bus Package’s 172, 180, actually can dual-depot control to reduce dead mileage.

          Nonetheless, actually, if it’s Jurong West Bus Package and Bulim Bus Package pairing, may potentially dual-depot control many more bus services, since the proximity of the two depots are much nearer. Can potentially pair 174, 157, 181, 199 and 185 of Jurong West Bus Package, and 79 and 98 for dual depot…

          Actually, why do you think Tower Transit did not get the Jurong West Bus Package? Is it because they are trying for trio-depot control? Cuz their alternate is just slightly higher than SMRT’s only proposal. LTA probably don’t want a depot to control more than 2 packages.

          So, in a nutshell,
          JW and CCK-BP could be a good pairing for dual-depot control (SMRT),
          LY and HG-SK could be a good pairing for dual-depot control (Go Ahead).

          It would be good if the above-mentioned bus operators can get the above-mentioned bus packages.

          • 25 August 2023 at 8:39 PM

            JW+CCK+WL best under same operator, and the same applies for LY+HG.

            For TTS, BU+SBW+TAM (when it comes up) means they control each end of the city.

      • 19 August 2023 at 4:33 PM

        I prefer 174 in Bulim and 96 and Clementi feeders back to Clementi.

        • 20 August 2023 at 6:40 AM

          174 go Bukit Merah better.96 & feeders probably to Clementi once the integrated depot is operational.85 & 136 to Hougang also better.


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