Tower Transit eyes expansion as service begins
EVEN as its first nine bus services started plying the roads yesterday, Singapore's third bus operator, Tower Transit, already has its eyes set on expanding its presence here.
The Anglo-Australian firm, which won its first government bus contract a year ago, said it will compete in an upcoming tender, likely to be held next month, to run more bus routes.
Tower Transit chief executive Adam Leishman said the company's attention to customer experience, its engineering capabilities and success in recruiting locals to become bus captains put it in good stead to contribute to Singapore's transport sector.
Tower Transit's debut on the roads here marks a key step in the restructuring of Singapore's bus industry to raise service standards.
Under the contracting model, operators are subject to stricter reliability standards, with performance incentives or financial penalties given depending on whether standards are met.
Tower Transit Singapore's managing director Andrew Bujtor said the firm is "very confident" in meeting these standards, which include regularity in bus arrivals - often a bugbear among commuters here.
Mr Bujtor said a lot of training has been conducted so that bus captains can co-ordinate with the operations control centre to regulate bus headways or intervals, to "deliver the consistent gap between the buses that the passengers desire".
Tower Transit's first nine services - 77, 106, 173, 177, 189, 941, 945, 947, 990 - operate out of Bukit Batok bus interchange. Next month, it will gradually take over 17 more routes from SBS Transit, also in the western part of the island.
At around 5.30am yesterday, the first Tower Transit service in Singapore, service 945, left the interchange. This was followed by service 106, which was taken by Mr Leishman, Mr Bujtor and National Transport Workers' Union executive secretary Melvin Yong, also an MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC.
More than 20 "bus spotters" also turned up in Bukit Batok to photograph the first Tower Transit buses arriving from Bulim depot. These were in lush green, the colour chosen in a public voting exercise.
Tower Transit took over around 90 buses from SMRT, which remained in their original colour scheme. It also received 10 buses painted in green from the Government, which owns all assets in the contracting model.
Institute of Technical Education student Muhd Naz Farihin, 19, said: "The arrival of the green buses mark a leap forward in the bus industry to the new contracting model."