Singapore opens public bus system to private investors

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bus station SingaporeSingapore will open its public-bus industry to more private operators and nationalise certain bus assets, in a push to overhaul a sector plagued by ailing service standards, the Wall Street Journal reported

The revamp, due to start in the second half of this year, would end a decades-old duopoly by allowing contractors to bid for rights to run state-planned bus routes, Singapore’s Land Transport Authority said in a statement on May 21.

The move is the latest in a series of government efforts to shore up the city-state’s public-transport network – a frequent subject of public ire due to overcrowding, rising prices and increasingly inefficient service in recent years.

Singapore’s public-bus network is currently served by just two companies, SBS Transit and SMRT Corp. Both operators have run losses on their bus services for years.

Under the new system, about 20 per cent of bus routes will be tendered to new and existing operators – both local and foreign – on five-year contracts, which are renewable for an additional two years. The remaining 80 per cent will be initially reserved for existing operators under negotiated five-year deals, before being tendered out once the contracts expire.

Public transport in Singapore has become a hot-button issue in recent years as immigration-fueled population growth stretched its transportation network. The city-state’s population has jumped by more than 30 per cent in the past decade to 5.4 million people.

It isn’t clear when and how the government would take control of SBS and SMRT’s bus-operating assets, though analysts say regulators could buy those assets at book value.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Singapore will open its public-bus industry to more private operators and nationalise certain bus assets, in a push to overhaul a sector plagued by ailing service standards, the Wall Street Journal reported

Reading Time: 2 minutes

bus station SingaporeSingapore will open its public-bus industry to more private operators and nationalise certain bus assets, in a push to overhaul a sector plagued by ailing service standards, the Wall Street Journal reported

The revamp, due to start in the second half of this year, would end a decades-old duopoly by allowing contractors to bid for rights to run state-planned bus routes, Singapore’s Land Transport Authority said in a statement on May 21.

The move is the latest in a series of government efforts to shore up the city-state’s public-transport network – a frequent subject of public ire due to overcrowding, rising prices and increasingly inefficient service in recent years.

Singapore’s public-bus network is currently served by just two companies, SBS Transit and SMRT Corp. Both operators have run losses on their bus services for years.

Under the new system, about 20 per cent of bus routes will be tendered to new and existing operators – both local and foreign – on five-year contracts, which are renewable for an additional two years. The remaining 80 per cent will be initially reserved for existing operators under negotiated five-year deals, before being tendered out once the contracts expire.

Public transport in Singapore has become a hot-button issue in recent years as immigration-fueled population growth stretched its transportation network. The city-state’s population has jumped by more than 30 per cent in the past decade to 5.4 million people.

It isn’t clear when and how the government would take control of SBS and SMRT’s bus-operating assets, though analysts say regulators could buy those assets at book value.

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