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New bus contracting model a "more sustainable option": SBS Transit

SBS Transit welcomes the Government's new contracting model for bus operators, describing it as "a more sustainable option for the future".

SINGAPORE: SBS Transit, Singapore's main public bus operator, said on Wednesday it welcomed the Government's new contracting model for bus operators, describing it as "a more sustainable option for the future".

"It will have a major impact on the way we operate. We are, however, prepared for this upcoming challenge and will be able to tap on the experience of our sister companies in London and Sydney, which operate in a similar tender regime," SBS Transit said in a statement.

SBS Transit's parent ComfortDelgro operates bus services in Australia, China, Ireland and the UK, where subsidiary Metroline is one of London's largest public bus operators with a fleet of over 1,700 buses.

Its remarks come after authorities announced plans to restructure the public bus industry by adopting a "government contracting model", starting from the second half of this year.

Under the new system, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) will determine the bus services to be provided and the service standards, and bus operators will bid for the right to operate these services. 

The bus operators will be paid fees to operate the services, while fare revenue will be retained by the Government.

SBS Transit operates about 250 bus services with a fleet of more than 3,200 buses.

It also operate the North East and Downtown MRT lines, as well as the Light Rail System in Punggol and Sengkang new towns.

For the three months ended March, SBS Transit's bus operations suffered an operating loss of S$4.7 million, down from a loss of S$5.4 million in the first quarter of 2013.

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