SINGAPORE: A fourth bus package under the Government Contracting Model was put up for tender on Friday (Apr 28), the Land Transport Authority (LTA) announced in a news release.
The Bukit Merah bus package comprises 18 bus services, including cross-border services to Johor Baru.
These will be operated from the new Ulu Pandan bus depot, scheduled to be completed next year, and will primarily serve Bukit Merah town and the central business district. Buses will be deployed from the Bukit Merah, Harbourfront and Jurong East temporary bus interchanges, as well as Buona Vista, Marina Centre, New Bridge Road, Queen Street and Shenton Way bus terminals.
The bus services included in the package are:
• Bukit Merah bus interchange: 5, 16, 57, 131/131M, 198, 272, 273
• Harbourfront bus interchange: 93, 123/123M
• Jurong East temporary bus interchange: 160
• Buona Vista bus terminal: 145
• Marina Centre bus terminal: 195
• New Bridge Road bus terminal: 120, 121, 122
• Queen Street bus terminal: 170/170A
• Shenton Way bus terminal: 400, 402
Both local and foreign bus operators can bid for the right to operate the package. All tender submissions will be evaluated through a two-envelope process for quality and price, with more weight given to the quality proposals submitted by the tenderers, LTA said.
The successful tenderer will operate these bus services for five years, with the possibility of a two-year extension for good performance.
The package will start with about 340 buses, growing to about 390 buses by the end of the contract in tandem with new developments and projected growth in ridership, LTA said.
The first bus package under the Government Contracting Model, at Bulim, was awarded to London-based Tower Transit after 11 bids were received. The second at Loyang was awarded to another UK transport operator, the Go-Ahead Group, after 10 bids were received. Local bus operator SBS Transit won the tender for the third bus package at Seletar with the lowest of the nine bids received.
The Bukit Merah bus package is the first of 11 negotiated packages under the bus contracting model to be put up for tender. These are bus packages currently operated by incumbent bus operators SBS Transit and SMRT Buses that are being gradually put out for competitive tendering.
In the news release, LTA said that bus services will be progressively implemented in four tranches from the fourth quarter of 2018 to allow sufficient time for the incoming operator to build up its resources, such as recruitment and training of bus captains and technicians.
The authority also stated that as each new tender or change in contract for bus services may result in the movement of bus employees from one employer to another, the public transport tripartite committee will continue to engage stakeholders to safeguard the welfare of employees in the sector.