Monday, 11 May 2015

Tower Transit wins Singapore LTA’s bus contract

Yes they're coming over to Singapore
London Bus operator Tower Transit, a subsidiary company of Transit Systems from Australia won a contract to operate bus services in Singapore.
They will be operating 28 bus routes in Singapore from a fleet of 380 buses under contract to Land Transport Authority, a governing body from Singapore.
Their operations will commence in the second quarter of 2016.

From the LTA Press release:
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has awarded the contract for the first bus package to Tower Transit Group Limited. Starting from the second quarter of 2016, Tower Transit, a bus operator from the U.K., will operate the new Bulim Bus Depot and 26 bus services from the Jurong East, Bukit Batok and Clementi Bus Interchanges. Tower Transit will get an estimated total fee of $556.0 million over the five-year contract period.
Tower Transit was set up in 2013 by shareholders of Transit Systems, which has operated public bus networks in Australia since 1996. Tower Transit has since seen steady growth in its London operations under a similar bus contracting model. It currently employs about 2,000 employees and operates about 650 buses in the U.K., carrying over 115 million passengers a year.
Commuters can expect higher service levels as all bus services will have scheduled headways of no more than 15 minutes for both directions during the morning and evening peak periods, with at least half of them having scheduled headways of no more than 10 minutes. Of these, the feeder services will run at intervals of 6 to 8 minutes.
Mr Chew Men Leong, LTA’s Chief Executive, said, “The award of the first bus package is a major milestone and marks a very exciting time for the Singapore bus industry. The restructuring of the public bus industry and the injection of more competition will bring about even higher bus service levels for commuters. With bus contracting, the Government will plan bus services and can thus be more responsive to changes in ridership and commuter needs.”
The tender for the Bulim package was opened on 3 October 2014 and attracted 11 bids when it was closed on 19 January 2015. All tender submissions were evaluated based on the same set of criteria through a two-envelope process which included quality and price factors, with greater weightage given to the quality proposals submitted by tenderers. This two-envelope process allows LTA to raise the service levels of our bus industry and at the same time get the best value for money.
Under the contract, Tower Transit will operate 26 bus services from the Bukit Batok, Clementi and Jurong East bus interchanges; and terminate at Bedok, Boon Lay, Marina Centre, Shenton Way and Toa Payoh bus interchanges. To ensure a smooth transition with minimal inconvenience to commuters, the implementation of the 26 bus services will be carried out in three tranches from the second quarter of 2016. These services will be supported by the new Bulim Bus Depot located off Jurong West Avenue, which will be handed over to Tower Transit in the second half of 2015 to allow them sufficient time to recruit and train bus captains and technicians.
In addition to operating and managing bus services to specified performance standards, Tower Transit’s responsibilities include the following:
A.      Operate, manage and maintain the buses and their onboard equipment provided by LTA;
B.      Operate, manage, and maintain Bukit Batok and Jurong East Bus Interchanges, and the new Bulim Bus Depot, including all equipment and systems provided therein;
C.      Charge and collect fares as approved by the Public Transport Council, on behalf of the Government, for travel on the bus services under the package;
D.     Provide bus service information at all bus stops and bus interchanges served by the bus services; and
E.      Provide customer management services, such as lost and found service, and a hotline for commuter feedback and enquiries.
Press Release from Transit Systems:
Transit Systems congratulates its London based spin off, Tower Transit, on the successful bid to operate the Land Transport Authority’s (LTA) first tender under the Government’s New Contracting Model.
The LTA tender to operate 380 buses in Singapore will see Tower Transit run bus services from Jurong East, Bukit Batok and Clementi Interchanges with buses being garaged at the soon to be completed Bulim Depot.
Services will commence in stages during Q2 2016 and will be for a period of 5 years with the option to renew for a further 2 years, subject to performance.
Transit Systems CEO Clint Feuerherdt said Transit Systems and Tower Transit share a mutual passion for innovative and efficient transport solutions.
“We have proven in all of our operations that we are committed to identifying opportunities to provide the safest, most reliable and efficient transport solution – for people and for the environment.
“We believe this has been critical to both companies’ success - here in Australia and now through Tower Transit on the global platform.
“We are incredibly proud of Tower Transit’s success and achievements, which now span across the United Kingdom and Asia.
“We wish them all the best for the expansion into Singapore and look forward to watching their future growth and success,” he said.
Source and another press release from Transit Systems.
The 26 bus routes that Tower Transit are going to operate are: 41, 49, 66, 77, 78, 79, 96, 97, 97e, 98, 106, 143, 173, 177, 183, 189, 282, 284, 285, 333, 334, 335, 941, 945, 947 and 990.
This seems to be quite similar to where the bus operating company has the responsibilities to provide bus information for all bus stops and bus stations. Maintain, operate and manage the bus fleet provided by the LTA. Overall the responsibilities they have are quite different to London Buses.
As in London, London Buses deal with the bus information, bus stops and stations, whilst the private operating companies operate, maintain and manage the bus fleet, staff, depot…etc. The only bus type which is leased to operating companies is the New Routemaster.
It is interesting that the LTA in Singapore awarded Tower Transit a block of routes where as in London, the bus operating companies have to bid for the route individually.
It’s interesting to see how transport authorities around the world tender out their bus operations.
The bus operating companies that currently operate in Singapore are SBS Transit which is part of ComfortDelGro which also owns Metroline in London and SMRT Buses.
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Image Attribution "Tower Transit route 23" by Au Morandarte - Flickr: DSC00623. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

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