SINGAPORE: SBS Transit (SBST) has edged out five other bidders and won a contract to continue operating the Bukit Merah bus package for an estimated S$472 million, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) announced on Friday (Feb 23).
The new five-year contract will start from the fourth quarter of 2018.
The Bukit Merah package consists of 18 bus services, including two cross-border services. These services will operate out of the new Ulu Pandan Depot, which will be handed over to SBST in March 2018.
Under the package, SBST will continue to manage Bukit Merah and HarbourFront Bus Interchanges, as well as four bus terminals – Kampong Bahru, Marina Centre, Queen Street and Shenton Way Bus Terminal.
SBST was one of six companies that had bid for the tender, which LTA called on Apr 28, 2017. The other bidders comprised SMRT Buses, The Go-Ahead Group and Tower Transit Singapore, Shenzhen Bus Group and a consortium of Jiaoyun Group and Travel GSH.
LTA said greater consideration was given to quality over price during the evaluation process.
SBST was awarded the contract because its proposal demonstrated a comprehensive understanding of the operational considerations, and strong competence in bus service scheduling that would enable the optimal deployment of buses and resources, it added.
“The proposal showcased SBST’s extensive experience in bus operations, while offering good value for money,” it said, adding that SBST had prepared comprehensive contingency plans for cross-border services, and committed a significant number of experienced technicians to ensure high maintenance and reliability standards.
SBST also demonstrated innovative IT solutions for infrastructure and asset maintenance, as well as security management, with the development of several in-house mobile applications for staff to report defects and incidents.
It also presented a career development programme to up-skill its staff, with more opportunities for career progression, the authority said.
The Bukit Merah bus package is the fourth to be put up for tender under the Government Contracting Model.
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.
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 also 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.