Tower Transit – Transitioning to Sembawang-Yishun Bus Package

In September 2021, the Sembawang-Yishun Bus Package will be progressively taken over by Tower Transit.

The first tranche of 9 bus services in Yishun will be transferred to Tower Transit on 5 September 2021.

Current Term (PT213) Upcoming Term (PT217B)
Bus Operator SMRT Buses Tower Transit Singapore
Contract Term Negotiated Contract:
01 Sep 2016 – 02 Oct 2021 (extended by 1 year from 2020)
Tendered Package 1st Term:
05 Sep 2021 – 2026
Bus Services 110, 167, 169, 171, 652, 656, 670, 825, 853/853M, 854, 854e, 855, 856, 857, 858, 859/859A/859B, 882, 883/883M, 963, 963e, 963R, 965, 966, 969, 980, 981, NR1 & NR2 (28 bus routes)
167, 169, 171, 656, 663, 670, 825, 853/853M, 854, 854e, 855, 856, 857, 858, 859/859A/859B, 882, 883/883M, 963, 963e, 963R, 965, 966, 969, 980, 981, N1 & N2 (27 bus routes)
Bus Depot Ang Mo Kio Bus Depot Mandai Bus Depot
Bus Interchanges Sembawang Bus InterchangeYishun Bus Interchange, Lorong 1 Geylang Bus Terminal

Note: Service 663 operated by Tower Transit under Bulim Bus Package, to be transferred to Sembawang-Yishun Bus Package in Sep 2021.

Brief background of BCM (Click to expand)

Under the Bus Contracting Model (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.

The Sembawang-Yishun Bus Package is one of fourteen bus packages under the BCM, and the fifth package to be tendered out, following the Bulim, Loyang, Seletar and Bukit Merah bus packages.

The Sembawang-Yishun Bus Package package comprises bus services mainly originating from Sembawang Bus InterchangeYishun Bus Interchange, and Woodlands Bus Interchange, with a handful originating at Yio Chu KangResorts World Sentosa, and Marina Centre.

Having secured the tender, Tower Transit will take over 26 existing bus services operated by SMRT Buses progressively from 5 September 2021. Bus operations for the Tendered Package would be based out of the new Mandai Bus Depot, located off Mandai Road and integrated with Mandai Train Depot.

See also: Gearing up for 2021: Things to expect ahead of the Sembawang–Yishun Bus Package transition

Ramping Up

Redeployment of Buses

In March 2021, MAN A22 (Euro 6) & MAN A95 (Euro 6) buses were drawn from the LTA storage bus fleet and leased to Tower Transit in preparation for the commencement of operations in September 2021.

On 19 March 2021, a Mercedes-Benz OC500LE, Volvo B5LH and MAN A24 (1 unit each) were transferred from SMRT Buses to Tower Transit to facilitate training and familiarisation of Bus Captains and Technicians leading up to the takeover.

The remainder of the bus fleet transfers would take place on the night before each tranche of service takeover by Tower Transit.


Bus Registration Bus Model Transferred From
– March 2021 Transfers –
SG6105E MAN A95 (Euro 6) LTA Storage
SG1821D – SG1833U MAN A22 (Euro 6) LTA Storage
SG1809R – SG1811H, SG1834S – SG1836L & SG1861M MAN A22 (Euro 6) LTA Storage
SMB8015R MAN A24 SMRT Buses
SMB9L Mercedes-Benz OC500LE SMRT Buses
SG3016Z Volvo B5LH SMRT Buses
SG1837J – SG1839D, SG1845K – SG1847E, SG1859X, SG1860R, SG1862K – SG1878R MAN A22 (Euro 6) LTA Storage
– May 2021 Transfers –
SG1027E Mercedes-Benz Citaro LTA Storage
– Sep 2021 Transfers (Tranche 1 – 5 Sep 2021) –
Mercedes-Benz OC500LE SMRT Buses
SMB224G, SMB230M, SMB231K, SMB252A, SMB253Y, SMB1301K, SMB1310J, SMB1325S, SMB1326P, SMB1330B, SMB1331Z, SMB1333T, SMB1334R SMB1337H – SMB1339C, SMB1346G – SMB1349Z, SMB1356C & SMB1357A MAN A22 (Euro V) SMRT Buses
SMB3520G, SMB3522B – SMB3526R, SMB3529H, SG5704H & SG5705E Alexander Dennis Enviro500 SMRT Buses
SMB5888H, SMB5891Y, SMB5892U, SMB5894P – SMB5900E, SMB5902A – SMB5904U, SG5740C – SG5744S, SG5746L, SG5749D – SG5754M, SG5757E, SG5758C, SG5762P  – SG5764J, SG5766D, SG5777Y, SG5787T, SG5790H – SG5795U, SG5797P – SG5799J, SG5820E – SG5822A, SG5854H, SG5855E, SG5860P – SG5862J, SG5864D – SG5869R MAN A95 (Euro V) SMRT Buses
SG5943J, SG5946B, SG6006H, SG6012P, SG6013L, SG6018Z, SG6019X, SG6023H, SG6024E, SG6027Y, SG6029S, SG6037T, SG6055R – SG6058H, SG6065L, SG6066J & SG6071T MAN A95 (Euro 6) SMRT Buses

Tower Transit is the first operator of the MAN A22 (Euro 6) buses with registration:

  • SG1821D – SG1835P
  • SG1839D, SG1847E, SG1859X, SG1860R, SG1862K – SG1878R

These buses have sitting disused in storage since their registration in December 2018 & April 2020 respectively.

In late August 2021, the operator logo (SMRT Buses) on several buses were removed in preparation for handover to Tower Transit.

For the first tranche commencing 5 Sep 2021, Tower Transit stated in an Instagram story that they took over 140 buses from SMRT Buses.

Mandai Bus Depot

Back in October 2020, Tower Transit began outfitting works at the new Mandai Bus Depot in preparation for the commencement of its term of the Sembawang-Yishun Bus Package.

Route Familiarisation Training

In late June 2021, route familarisation training was ramped up for Tower Transit Bus Captains in preparation for service commencement from September 2021.

Buses commonly deployed for route familiaraisation are: SMB9L, SG3016Z, SG1825T, SG1836L & SG6105E.

Employee Shuttle – Mandai Bus Depot

To facilitate training of affected SMRT Buses employees whom would be transferred to Tower Transit, a shuttle bus service is deployed between Sembawang Vista and Mandai Bus Depot.

SMRT Buses – Internal Re-deployments

In the months leading up to the September 2021 transition date, SMRT Buses shuffled buses between its depots in preparation for the handover of these buses to Tower Transit.

The gradual process of internal redeployments leaves the Mandai Zone with a stable fleet of buses that will be immediately transferred to Tower Transit on the transition date. As a general trend, the majority of buses being transferred from SMRT to TTS will be Government-owned buses purchased under the BSEP or BCM.

In March 2021 & April 2021, SG-plated MAN A22 (Euro V) buses were transferred to the Mandai Zone, in exchange for SMB-plated Mercedes-Benz Citaro buses.

Additional SG-Plated MAN A22 (Euro V & Euro 6) buses in storage (formerly operated by SMRT Buses) were leased again to SMRT Buses and deployed to Mandai Zone in April 2021.

Month Transfer In (to Mandai Zone) Transfer Out (from Mandai Zone)
March 2021 SG1706D SG1707B SG1708Z SG1712K SG1713H SG1717Y SG1718U SG1719S SG1724B SG1725Z
[MAN A22 Euro V]
[Mercedes-Benz Citaro]
March 2021 SG1726X SG1727T SG1734Y SG1735U SG1736S SG1737P SG1740D SG1741B SG1742Z
[MAN A22 Euro V]
[Mercedes-Benz Citaro]
April 2021 SG1703L SG1704J SG1705G SG1709X SG1710R SG1711M SG1714E SG1715C SG1716A SG1722G
[MAN A22 Euro V]
[Mercedes-Benz Citaro]
April 2021 SG1738L SG1743X SG1744T SG1745R SG1746M
[MAN A22 Euro V] SG1752U SG1753S SG1754P SG1755L SG1808T SG1851S SG1852P
[MAN A22 Euro 6]
[Mercedes-Benz Citaro]
April 2021 SMB224G SMB230M SMB231K SMB232H SMB252A SMB253Y
[MAN A22 Euro V] SG1723D SG1728R SG1729M SG1730H SG1739J
[MAN A22 Euro V]
[Mercedes-Benz Citaro]


Tower Transit – Internal Re-deployments

In September 2021, several buses were transferred from Bulim Depot to Mandai Depot for the Sembawang-Yishun Bus Package.

  • SMB3501L – SMB3506Z
    Alexander Dennis Enviro500

Transitioning Dates

Similar to previous route packages, bus services under the Sembawang-Yishun Bus Package will be transferred to Tower Transit in stages, starting from Sunday, 5 September 2021.

Tranche Implementation Date Bus Services No of Routes
1 5 Sep 2021 171, 663*, 670, 853/853M, 854, 854e, 855, 856 & 857 9
2 19 Sep 2021 169, 858, 963, 963e, 963*, 965, 966 & 969
3 3 Oct 2021 167, 656, 825, 859/859A/859B, 882, 883/883M, 980, 981, N1 & N2
Total: 27

No operator change for City Direct 663 as it is currently operated by Tower Transit (transfer from Bulim Bus Package to Sembawang-Yishun Bus Package)

Change In Operator

Services which were part of the Negotiated Contract term for the Sembawang-Yishun Bus Package but not part of the Tendered Package term would be transferred to other bus packages.

Date Operator Bus Package Bus Services No of Routes
1 Sep 2021 SMRT Buses Woodlands 110 1
6 Sep 2021 SBS Transit Seletar 652 1

Bus Service Changes

Express 854e

Under Tower Transit, departure timings for Express 854e from Yishun were adjusted from 6 Sep 2021.

Service 856A

Service guides uploaded by Tower Transit for Service 856 does not include the Short Trip Service 856A which ends at Woodlands Train Checkpoint.

This service was later confirmed to have been silently withdrawn, with the removal of the service information from the Land Transport Authority website.

Service Upgrades

Double-deck buses are deployed daily for these services operated by Tower Transit:

  • Service 171
  • Service 853 / 853M
  • Service 855

Tower Transit Exhibition Booth

In late August 2021, an exhibition booth was done up by Tower Transit at Yishun Public Library.

More photos: Tower Transit Exhibition Booth for Sembawang-Yishun Bus Package

Change of Anchor Operator at Yishun




Gallery: Tower Transit Route Familarisation Buses

See Also:
Previous Bus Packages:

92 thoughts on “Tower Transit – Transitioning to Sembawang-Yishun Bus Package

  • 9 September 2021 at 8:18 AM

    Seems like even non-BSEP Enviro500s are going over to TTS Mandai. Spotted several of them without SMRT logos.

    Wonder if any of the existing WLDEP B9TLs will be transferred to TTS or not.

    • 17 September 2021 at 3:55 PM

      ofc those buses need to transfer. if not, SMRT buses will have lots of spare buses

      I dont think volvo wright buses are affected at all

  • 5 September 2021 at 8:28 PM

    I am so happy to see tower transit finally updated their logo to the dark green on the buses instead of the white logo. Now the buses under tower transit look proper. I hope they update the logo on their bulim fleet too.

  • 5 September 2021 at 10:49 AM

    TTS Mandai fleets for now is B1 A22 E5,B2 A22 E5,A22 E6,OC500LE,Enviro500 B1 & B2,B1 A95 E5,B2 A95 E5,B3 A95 E5,B1 A95 E6 & B2 A95 E6.

    Coming soon is B5LH,C6

  • 31 August 2021 at 11:44 AM

    Now I have already seen bus service 969 having buses without the SMRT logos on them. These buses will go to the new Mandai Integrated Depot in where the Tower Transit Singapore logos will be pasted on them. Just like last time when bus service 3 have these Mercedes-benz Citaro buses and Volvo B9TL buses without carrying symbols representing the bus company the buses are in service with. All these buses have already been deployed to the Go-Ahead Singapore Loyang Depot where they have been given the Go-Ahead Singapore bus company logos.

    • 2 September 2021 at 6:34 PM

      Eh hello… before pasting the logo, it’s audit inspection..
      If fail… go back to original operator or go to LTA storage.
      Not so fast you know.

  • 27 August 2021 at 6:41 PM

    I was just wondering if there will be dual depot control TT services and whether the buses will switch depot between bulim & mandai


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Upcoming Events