The newest bus service contract has been awarded to UK-based Go-Ahead Group for S$497.7 million from the Land Transport Authority (LTA). Areas covered under the contract includes 25 bus services from bus interchanges based in the East like Changi Airport, Changi Village, Pasir Ris and Punggol.
Commencing as soon as third quarter of 2016 in two phases, Go-Ahead Group won the 5-year contract as the lowest bidder. SMRT and SBS went in at S$598.1 million and S$545.9 million.
The Singapore government is currently nationalizing the losses of public transport and privatizing the profit, in its hybrid public transport model. Private public transport operators are given comfortable margin to make a profit, and also given generous subsidies like the S$1.1 billion Bus Service Enhancement Programme (BSEP), where free buses are paid for using taxpayers’ dollars and given free to the operators.
Although Singaporeans have been calling for the public transport to be nationalized, the Singapore government is adamant on privatizing the public transport which many believed is to recuperate Temasek Holdings’ overseas losses. Both SMRT and SBS belong to Temasek Holdings, where the Prime Minister’s wife is made CEO for more than a decade.
Bus drivers in Singapore are also lowly paid and work at least 55 hours a week including overtime. The earlier UK-based bus operator Tower Transit, offered S$8.47 an hour cheap wages for their new bus drivers.
Tower Transit put out S$8.47/hr cheap wages for bus drivers