SBSTransit – BT

SBS Transit begins to introduce new buses

First 100 of 500 are being rolled out; the rest will be on roads in a year or so

SBS Transit has begun rolling out the first 100 of 500 new single-deck buses costing $36 million to provide better service.

Quality of Service standards introduced in September 2006 cover six aspects – bus service reliability, loading, safety, provision of information, availability and integration with other types of public transport.

Last year, SBS Transit beefed up maintenance and repair and replaced old buses with new ones to reduce the average age of its fleet. In 2006 and 2007, it introduced 200 new double-deck buses.

‘The goal is to cut waiting time so commuters spend less time travelling,’ chairman Lim Jit Poh said at the company’s annual general meeting this week.

‘This can certainly be attained – but it will be at a cost. We will need more buses and, in turn, more bus captains. The result? More investments.’

Each new bus costs between $360,000 and $500,000.

A further 400 new single-deck buses will be introduced in the next 12 months or so.

The total bill for all 500 single-deckers will be $180 million.

Mr Lim also spoke about the government’s recently announced land transport review and the impending introduction of competition to improve efficiency.

Existing public transport operators could end up with a lower market share if new operators enter the fray, he said.

‘But the absolute revenue may well be larger. The pie will get larger’ – as the government encourages people to take public transport.

‘In bus, our experience, acquired locally and overseas, puts us in good stead,’ Mr Lim said. ‘Competition is not new to us.’

He said he hopes to see a level playing field.

‘The same standards and treatment should be the guiding principles in the competition when it is introduced.’

For example, the government has talked about bearing the cost of building infrastructure such as bus depots.

‘It is therefore important that existing operators, which have been taking on these costs all along, receive similar assistance going forward,’ Mr Lim said.

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