Tower Transit – Transitioning to Sembawang-Yishun Bus Package

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

Current Term (PT213) Upcoming Term (PT217)
Bus Operator SMRT Buses Tower Transit Singapore
Contract Term Negotiated Contract:
01 Sep 2016 – 04 Sep 2021 (extended by 1 year from 2020)
Tendered Package 1st Term:
05 Sep 2021 – 2026
Bus Services 167, 167e, 169, 171, 656, 663, 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 (26 bus routes)

Note: All services (except 663) operated by SMRT Buses. Express 167e was withdrawn in December 2020.

167, 167e, 169, 171, 656, 663, 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 (26 bus routes)

Note: Express 167e was withdrawn in December 2020

Bus Depot Ang Mo Kio Bus Depot Mandai Bus Depot
Bus Interchanges Sembawang Bus InterchangeYishun Bus Interchange, Lorong 1 Geylang Bus Terminal
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 25 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.

More buses are expected to be transferred to Tower Transit for training purposes in the near future.

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

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.

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.

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, the first of many redeployments was carried out, with SG-plated MAN A22 (Euro V) buses 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]


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
663 1
To Be Announced 167, 169, 171, 656, 663, 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 25
Total: 26

No operator change for City Direct 663 as it is currently operated by Tower Transit.

See Also:
Previous Bus Packages:

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

  • 23 April 2021 at 8:59 PM

    If Sengkang-Hougang package bidding doesn’t start by mid May,Meaning LTA extend the contract.

  • 22 April 2021 at 6:13 PM

    you can find smb8015r at mandai quite frequently due to its outer parking

    • 24 April 2021 at 7:47 AM

      2 days ago I even saw it drive out of the depot, probably for driver training.

  • 18 April 2021 at 2:10 AM

    Don’t understand why Amdep keep on holding the two training buses(SMB136C & SMB141L)?Convert to revenue?Yeah I believe after the transition,Few OCs will go to Wldep as KJ will intake the balance Enviro500 if there’s any.I heard either half or 3/4 of the B5LH will goes to TTS.Balance might be go to Wldep.


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