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    May 29, 2014

    First bus package to be tendered has 24 routes

    THE first bus package to be tendered out under a new operating model will comprise 24 existing routes in the west of Singapore.

    Announcing details yesterday, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said the routes originate from the Jurong East, Bukit Batok and Clementi bus interchanges.

    Operators can bid to run the package, starting with about 380 buses, and expanding to about 500 buses by 2021, in tandem with the development of Tengah New Town and Bukit Batok West.

    In a radical restructuring of the public bus industry, the Government will now own all fleets and infrastructure, and contract out routes to be operated by transport companies.

    The first bus package will operate from the new Bulim depot off Jurong West Avenue 2, which will be ready next year.

    The LTA will put the package up for tender later this year, and open it to all parties - incumbents SBS Transit and SMRT, local operators and foreign ones.

    The operator that wins the tender will start running the routes from the second half of 2016.

    Of the 24 routes, 16 are from SBS Transit and eight from SMRT.

    Announcing the change to a contracting model last week, LTA said it would inject more competition into the industry and raise service levels.

    This bus package is the first of three to be tendered out over the next two years.

    The remaining 80 per cent of buses will be bundled into nine packages, to be run by SBS Transit and SMRT till they are put up for tender around 2022.

    Some local and foreign operators - including Australia's Tower Transit - have expressed interest in submitting bids.

    The 380 buses in the package are likely to be a mix of new buses purchased under the Bus Service Enhancement Programme and replacement buses for the operators.

    Existing buses plying those routes will be redeployed.