In a surprise move by the Loyang Bus package operator, Go-Ahead Singapore appears to have outsourced its Employee Bus Routes to Tower Transit. A total of 8 employee bus routes (numbered GA1 – GA8) are were operated by Tower Transit buses and their drivers. This arrangement lasted from the early hours of 18 September 2016 to 15 October 2016.
A fleet of Tower Transit MAN NL323F (A22) buses were spotted within Loyang Bus Depot in the early hours of 18 September, lined up beside the depot building and picking up Go-Ahead employees. The buses promptly departed at various timings in the night, ferrying the evening shift Bus Captains home from the depot. These buses also perform a return trip back to the depot, ferrying the morning shift Bus Captains from their home to the bus depot.
Tower Transit staff were also at Loyang Bus Depot to ensure smooth operations of the Employee Bus Service.
While reasons why Tower Transit would be operating Go-Ahead employee bus routes were previously unclear, it was revealed just two days later when Go-Ahead Singapore announced that it was borrowing Bus Captains from SBS Transit and SMRT Buses with effect from Wednesday, 21st September 2016, owing to a shortage of Bus Captains.
As the surprise arrangement coincided with Go-Ahead’s second tranche of bus routes, lack of Bus Captains would have further strained Go-Ahead operations and resulted in Tower Transit’s involvement in Go-Ahead’s Employee Bus Routes. Later news reports clarified that the arrangement would last for one month as Go-Ahead completes the training of a new batch of Bus Captains. The amount of money that Go-Ahead is paying Tower Transit for their services remains unannounced.
Tower Transit had also taken the initiative to program the Electronic Display Signage (EDS) of their buses with Go-Ahead Employee Bus Routes GA1 to GA8, including the ‘lion’ associated with Go-Ahead Singapore’s corporate logo. Several Tower Transit buses also had pieces of paper on the windscreen indicating that they were spare buses reserved for Go-Ahead Employee Bus Routes.
Furthermore, the sight of Tower Transit MAN A22 buses at Loyang Bus Depot adds to the novelty factor of such an arrangement, complementing the presence of SMRT Buses which stables its own MAN A22 buses at the depot, among other models of buses.
Go-Ahead Singapore resumed operations of their Employee Bus Services using their own fleet and Bus Captains on 15 October 2016.
Go-Ahead previously used their own buses on Employee Bus Routes, such as this Mercedes-Benz Citaro.