Tower Transit Takes Over Yishun & Sembawang Interchanges, 27 Bus Services Affected

Yishun and Sembawang residents, you’ll see your buses take on a different look from Sep 2021– specifically, they’ll become greener.

Tower Transit, known for the green livery on their buses, will be taking over the Yishun and Sembawang bus interchanges from SMRT.

Some SMRT staff in Yishun and Sembawang will be affected by the change — but they shouldn’t worry about their rice bowls as all of them must be offered jobs by Tower Transit.

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LTA awards Sembawang-Yishun Bus Package to Tower Transit

In a press release on Wednesday (30 Sep), the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said it had awarded the Sembawang-Yishun Bus Package to Tower Transit.

The contract is for 5 years, and will take effect from the 2nd quarter of 2021.

There’s also the chance that the contract will be extended for 2 more years if Tower Transit does well.

27 bus routes affected

The Sembawang-Yishun Bus Package is currently being run by SMRT.

It involves 27 bus routes, with 400 buses.

These buses run out of the Sembawang and Yishun bus interchanges, as well as the Lorong 1 Geylang terminal.

They operate from the new Mandai Depot, which will be handed over to Tower Transit this month.

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SMRT staff’s jobs will be protected

Since Tower Transit is taking over Yishun and Sembawang bus routes from SMRT, it’ll be Tower Transit staff who will be operating the buses and interchanges.

Thus, SMRT staff will be affected, but they shouldn’t worry about their jobs.

That’s because according to the Guidelines on Good Employment Practices in the Public Bus Industry, staff affected by such a transition must be offered jobs by the incoming operator, i.e. Tower Transit.

And Tower Transit must offer these staff terms that are equal to or better than what they got from their previous employer, i.e. SMRT.

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The staff may choose to join Tower Transit, or stay with SMRT but be redeployed to other positions if it’s possible.

National Transport Workers’ Union (NTWU) executive secretary Melvin Yong, who’s also an MP for Radin Mas, said in a Facebook post on Wednesday (30 Sep) that NTWU will ensure a the affected workers will have a smooth transition.

He also said NTWU will work for the different public transport operators to take care of workers and create a safe working environment.

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Tower Transit to continue operating bus services in the West

Separately, Tower Transit has also been re-awarded the Bulim package, which it’s currently operating now.

The Bulim package allows it to run services in the west from 3 bus interchanges — Bukit Batok, Jurong East and Clementi. It will also manage Bukit Batok and Jurong East interchanges.

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It involves 29 bus routes, with 320 buses. They operate from the Bulim Depot.

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Tower Transit won based on quality & price of proposal

According to the LTA, Tower Transit won the tender for the Sembawang-Yishun and Bulim bus packages based on the quality and price of its proposal.

It said the company showed an “excellent understanding of the operational considerations” and also aimed to improve commuter experience in ways that include enhancing inclusivity.

LTA flagged the following positives in Tower Transit’s proposal:

  1. Good bus scheduling that optimises use of buses and resources
  2. A Public Bus Confidence Course to help the elderly and less mobile to use bus services
  3. Plan to hire more disabled staff as customer experience and inclusivity officers so they can better help disabled commuters
  4. Building a stronger Singaporean core in its hiring practices

The 2 contracts amount to about $1.03 billion over 5 years.

Changes afoot to northern bus services

While Yishun and Sembawang residents can look forward to having a different company operating their buses, staff can be assured of their job security.

Western residents can however be assured of continuity, as Tower Transit will continue operating their buses.

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Featured images adapted from Facebook and Facebook.