SMRT Task Force 50

Task Force 50 (TF50) refers to a team of standby buses and Bus Captains who operate Rail Bridging Bus services in the event of a train service disruption.

Initiated by the Land Transport Authority in January 2018, the first team of 50 bus drivers was gathered from Private Bus Operators Woodlands Transport Service Pte. Ltd. and Aedge Holdings Pte. Ltd. under a contractual agreement. Operating in two shifts, SMRT maintains a constant standby force of around 25 bus drivers at any time during rail operating hours.

It is understood that there were plans by SMRT Buses to double the Task Force driver pool in mid-2018 to enable a standby force of 50 bus drivers at any time during rail operating hours, by supplementing the Task Force with its own bus drivers. These bus drivers form an immediate response force in the event that free shuttle bus services are required during a train disruption. However, this did not take place.

On 2 April 2019, the Land Transport Authority awarded a Limited Tender (PT361 – Provision of Contingency Buses) to SMRT Buses Ltd for $40,862,335.00. It is believed that this is for the continuation of the provision of TF50 Services by SMRT Buses to LTA for a couple more years to come.


Training & Activation

TF50 Bus Captains were familiarized with operating various common models of buses in SMRT’s bus fleet, such as the Mercedes-Benz Citaro. This, combined with training on the use of the New On-Board Bus Equipment (NOBE) as well as the Common Fleet Management System (CFMS), allowed Bus Captains from Private Bus Operators to attain the Omnibus Driver’s Vocational Licence (ODVL) from the Singapore Bus Academy, a prerequisite to operating any Public Bus.

Drivers were also trained on the full bridging bus routes for various rail lines in preparation for any possible activation:

Line Rail Bridging Service
North South Line (NSL) NSL Bridging Service
East West Line (EWL) EWL Bridging Service
North East Line (NEL) NEL Bridging Service
Circle Line (CCL) CCL Bridging Service
Bukit Panjang LRT (BPLRT) BPLRT Bridging Service
Sengkang LRT (SKLRT) SKLRT Bridging Service
Punggol LRT (PGLRT) PGLRT Bridging Service

A dedicated fleet of TF50 buses is reserved for potential activation during a rail delay or disruption. During activation, TF50 drivers would be assigned to these buses and deployed on Free Bridging Bus Services, in addition to other regular buses pulled from revenue service.

Apart from ad-hoc disruptions, TF50 resources also assist with Early Closure & Late Opening (ECLO) shuttle bus services.


MRT Shuttle during Early Closure & Late Opening (ECLO)

TF50 resources were used to operate Early Closure & Late Opening (ECLO) shuttle bus services since 2018, augmenting resources contributed by other public transport operators.

Month(s) Shuttle Event Joint Operator(s)
March – April 2018 Shuttle 3 East West Line Early Closure & Late Opening
March 2018 Express 15 East West Line Weekday Extended Early Closure
April – June 2018 LRT A &
LRT B
Bukit Panjang LRT Sunday Closures
November 2018 Shuttle 3 East West Line Early Closure
November – December 2018 Express 17 East West Line & North South Line Early Closure
January – March 2019 Shuttle 21 North East Line Early Closure SBS Transit
May 2019 Express 17 North South Line 3-Day Closure for Canberra Track Works
July 2019 Shuttle 21 North East Line Early Closure SBS Transit
August – September 2019 Shuttle 4 North South Line Late Opening SBS Transit & SMRT Buses
September 2019 Shuttle 4 North South Line Early Closure SMRT Buses
October – November 2019 Shuttle 1 East West Line Early Closure SMRT Buses
December 2019 Shuttle 7 East West Line Early Closure Go-Ahead Singapore
January 2020 Shuttle 9 North South Line Early Closure SBS Transit & SMRT Buses
February – March 2020 Shuttle 10 North South Line Early Closure SBS Transit & SMRT Buses
April 2020 Shuttle 7 East West Line Early Closure Go-Ahead Singapore & SMRT Buses
Gallery (Early Closure / Late Opening Shuttles)

Free Bridging Bus Services during Train Service Disruption

TF50 resources were activated during several instances of delays or disruption to train service since 2018.

Date Affected Line Train Service
Reason
Sectors Operated
19 Sep 2018 East West Line Delay Track Point Fault near Clementi Queenstown ↔ Boon Lay
11 Nov 2018 Circle Line Disruption Signal Fault Dhoby Ghaut ↔ Paya Lebar
Marina Bay ↔ Paya Lebar
14 Nov 2018 North South Line Delay Signalling Fault Woodlands ↔ Yishun
9 Dec 2018 Bukit Panjang LRT Disruption Power Fault Choa Chu Kang ↺ Bukit Panjang via Senja
Choa Chu Kang ↺ Bukit Panjang via Petir
12 Dec 2018 East West Line Disruption Track Side Accident involving a SMRT staff during maintenance hours near Joo Koon Gul Circle ↔ Boon Lay
15 Mar 2019 East West Line Disruption Track Fault near Clementi Jurong East ↔ Queenstown
15 Mar 2019 Circle Line Disruption Signal Fault Dhoby Ghaut ↔ Paya Lebar
Marina Bay ↔ Paya Lebar
24 Mar 2019 Bukit Panjang LRT Disruption Power Fault Choa Chu Kang ↺ Bukit Panjang via Senja
Choa Chu Kang ↺ Bukit Panjang via Petir
2 Apr 2019 Bukit Panjang LRT Disruption Train Fault Choa Chu Kang ↺ Bukit Panjang via Senja
Choa Chu Kang ↺ Bukit Panjang via Petir
26 May 2019 North South Line Disruption Power Fault Newton ↔ Marina South Pier
22 Jun 2019 Bukit Panjang LRT Partial Disruption Train Fault
(Service B affected)
Choa Chu Kang ↺ Bukit Panjang via Petir
6 Jul 2019 Bukit Panjang LRT Disruption Power Fault affecting the Signalling System Choa Chu Kang ↺ Bukit Panjang via Senja
Choa Chu Kang ↺ Bukit Panjang via Petir
30 Nov 2019 East West Line Delay Track Point Fault Tuas Link ↔ Joo Koon
16 Dec 2019 North South Line Disruption Signalling Fault Jurong East ↔ Kranji
Gallery (Bridging Buses)

TF50 Buses

The dedicated fleet of TF50 buses comprises Mercedes-Benz Citaro and MAN A22 single deck buses, as well as Volvo B9TL and MAN A95 double-deck buses. These buses are leased to SMRT Buses as part of TF50 operations and bear a piece of paper bearing “TF ##” on the front windscreen (where ## are numbers between 01 and 50). As of October 2018, the “TF” on the front paper was dropped, leaving with only 2 digit numbers.

These buses are mainly based at Seletar Bus Depot, with smaller numbers of buses parked at Bukit Panjang Temporary Bus Park, Woodlands Bus Park, Ulu Pandan Bus Depot and Lorong 1 Geylang Terminal. Refuelling and other administrative matters under the purview of SMRT Ang Mo Kio Bus Depot.

List of TF50 Buses
List of TF50 Buses (As of May 2018)
TF Fleet Code Bus Model Bus Registration No.
TF1 Mercedes-Benz Citaro SG1020Z
TF2 SG1021X
TF3 SG1022T
TF4 SG1027E
TF5 SG1028C
TF6 SG1029A
TF7 SG1117D
TF8 SG1118B
TF9 SG1119Z
TF10 SG1121R
TF11 SG1122M
TF12 SG1128Y
TF13 SG1129U
TF14 SG1134D
TF15 SG1135B
TF16 SG1137X
TF17 SG1142E
TF18 SG1209Y
TF19 SG1210S
TF20 SG1211P
TF21 SG1212L
TF22 SG1213J
TF23 SG1214G
TF24 Volvo B9TL SG5489D
TF25 SG5490Z
TF26 SG5491X
TF27 SG5492T
TF28 SG5493R
TF29 SG5494M
TF30 MAN A95 SG5830T
TF31 Mercedes-Benz Citaro SG1215D
TF32 SG1216B
TF33 SG1217Z
TF34 SG1218X
TF35 SG1219T
TF36 SG1220M
TF37 SG1221K
TF38 SG1222H
TF39 SG1223E
TF40 SG1224C
TF41 SG1225A
TF42 SG1226Y
TF43 SG1227U
TF44 SG1228S
TF45 SG1229P
TF46 SG1241C
TF47 SG1242A
TF48 SG1243Y
TF49 MAN A22 SG1747K
TF50 SG1748H

End of Service

In July 2020, operations were believed to have ceased, with standby buses parked at various sites such as Bukit Panjang Temporary Bus Park and Lorong 1 Geylang Terminal no longer seen.


External Links & References:

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3 thoughts on “SMRT Task Force 50

  • 24 June 2018 at 5:43 PM
    Permalink

    TF contract is up to 2019 December and subject to LTA approval.They also support NEL bridging too.From July,20-25 buses will be transferred to Ulu Pandan Depot.

    Reply
  • 6 June 2018 at 9:04 AM
    Permalink

    And some buses will permanently park at Ulu Pandan next month

    Reply
  • 1 June 2018 at 8:14 PM
    Permalink

    Anyone knows if…
    – TF50 is temporary or permanent?
    – Will TF50 be renamed to TFXX (where XX is the number of buses in the TF fleet) if there’s a change in the number of buses in the TF fleet?
    – If SMRT loses all the bus packages, will TF50 remain?

    Reply

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