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.

Note

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:

References

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

  • 1 October 2023 at 11:54 AM
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    I predict
    Go-Ahead>Sengkang-Hougang(2024) & Bulim(2026).
    Tower Transit>Seletar(2025) & Loyang(2026).
    SMRT Buses>Woodlands(2026),Sembawang-Yishun(2026) & Jurong West.
    SBS Transit>Choa Chu Kang-Bukit Panjang(2026),Bedok,Tampines,Bukit Merah,Serangoon-Eunos,Clementi & Bishan-Toa Payoh.

    Jurong Region Line>SMRT Trains with Tower Transit(30%).
    Cross Island Line>SBS Transit with Go-Ahead(30%).

    Reply
  • 7 September 2023 at 11:15 AM
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    Bus 79, 174, 198 and 651 should join Jurong West Bcm

    Reply
    • 7 September 2023 at 5:26 PM
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      Agree. At least 174, 198 and 651 should have been under JW since these are closer to SLBP/SLDEP.

      79 most likely remain under Bulim forever.

      Reply
      • 8 September 2023 at 7:26 PM
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        79 will be going to Jurong Town Hall Int in future.154,157,174 make sense under JW or 174 under BM.185 can be under Clementi

        Reply
      • 10 September 2023 at 11:19 AM
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        There’s plan for a integrated train and bus depot at Tuas(Former Raffles CC) and now I understand why LTA doesn’t bundle more CBD svc into JW package.502 no choice cause loop service.

        Reply
  • 7 September 2023 at 6:06 AM
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    LTA should instruct SMRTB to lease all the ex-TTS Batch 2 A22 E5 including the 5 units from GAS.GAS lease the SG plate instead.Transfer a few A95 from KJ & WL in exchange for a few SG B9TL.

    Reply
  • 27 August 2023 at 11:26 AM
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    To compensate SMRT,The upcoming Sengkang-hougang will be their 3rd and final bus packages.I got a strong feeling LTA will award the CCK-BPJ package to GAS next year and handover will be either late 2024 or early 2025.SMRT will also retain Woodlands.SBST will get the JRL instead and probably will retain Seletar too.With this all operators will operate the bendy buses.All operators will be at Changi Airport too.61 & 67 will be dual GB-LY if that happens.If SMRT wins Sengkang,51,151 will be HG-SL.

    For SBST Boon Lay side it will be UP-BN for 30,UP-HG for 154 & UP-BR for 157.
    For Jurong East it will be BB-AM for 52,BB-BN for 197 & BB-HG for 506.

    LTA will transfer all the UP storage buses to Mandai and BB will intake svc 96 & Clementi feeders to park there.TT Bulim will have a few new Tengah svc also.

    Reply
    • 7 September 2023 at 10:24 AM
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      CCK-Bukit Panjang and Woodlands packages are confirmed extended by another 3 years and will continue to be under SMRT.

      Reply
      • 7 September 2023 at 6:09 PM
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        Yeah I noticed and that’s leave only Sengkang for GAS to win…Else wait 2025 for Seletar if cannot then sayonara..

        Reply
      • 25 September 2023 at 11:06 PM
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        If GAS wins Sengkang, that means hong gan already. Cheers to more slow buses on the road, been taking 136 and 83, buses never on time and drive slowly!!

        Reply
  • 27 August 2023 at 10:10 AM
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    I don’t think the Euro 6 A95 will be for SMRT.Most probably transfer to Bukit Batok Depot for service 197.
    I think the confirm fleets is Euro V Scania K230UB Batch 1/2,Citaro and A22.SMRT will lease a few A22 for spare buses.For Double deckers it will be the B9TL,A95 & the 3-doors Enviro500 plus SMRT will transfer a few DD from KJ/WL for their spare fleets.

    Reply

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