According to the Land Transport Authority (LTA)’s latest announcement today (Sep 4), public buses are now less crowded and waiting times are shorter as compared to a year ago before the bus contracting model took effect:

“The majority of public buses now have shorter wait times and are less crowded during peak hours since the industry moved to the bus contracting model a year ago. Since the industry fully transitioned to the model in September last year… As a result, three-quarters of bus services are now less crowded during peak periods. All services also have scheduled wait times of no more than 15 minutes during peak hours, and more than half have scheduled wait times of 10 minutes or less. Feeder services also run at shorter intervals of between six and eight minutes.

Feeder services also run at shorter intervals of between six and eight minutes. Bus arrivals have also become more regular with the introduction of the Bus Service Reliability Framework (BSRF) under the bus contracting model. For 292 high-frequency bus services, the average additional wait time has been reduced by about 25 per cent. For 73 low-frequency bus services, 49 are now more punctual. As all bus services are now required to meet BSRF standards, commuters can expect further improvement to bus service reliability.”

The new contracting framework, called the Bus Service Reliability Framework (BSRF), cost at least a total of S$5 billion to be paid by taxpayers, buying over all the physical assets and maintenance operations of the public buses. However, the profitable part of the bus operations to manage drivers are left to SBS Transit and SMRT where profits are ensured. Temasek Holdings, the parent company of SMRT, is believed to have made huge profits following the government’s move to buy over the depreciating assets of SMRT.

SBS Transit’s parent company ComfortDelgro posted undisclosed profits from it’s public bus operations last month (Aug 2017) and the company noted in their financial report thanking the government for the new bus contracting model for increase in profits.

“Increase in SBS Transit’s Bus revenue following the transition to the BCM (Bus Contracting Model) effective 1 Sep 2016.”

Bus fares are controlled by the Public Transport Council (PTC), which has a vested interest in keeping the public transport companies profitable for sovereign wealth fund company Temasek Holdings, under the Prime Minister’ wife Ho Ching. In April 2017, PTC announced that they will be changing the fare calculation formula as the existing formula is not profitable.