Photo of elderly boarding SBS bus from SilverAlly

The Singapore Land Transport Authority (LTA) awarded state-owned public transport operator SBS Transit the lucrative Bukit Merah Bus Package for S$472 million, despite it being the third most expensive tenderer. The five-year contract consists of 18 bus services in the new Ulu Pandan depot, and the operation of Bukit Merah and HarbourFront bus interchanges.

SBS Transit is one of the six companies that bid for the LTA tender, but it won the tender despite having three other consortium companies putting up a lower bid. The three other bidders are China’s Jiaotong Group, China’s Shenzhen Bus Group and SMRT. The LTA claimed that SBS Transit won the contract because of a higher consideration of quality over pricing, despite being S$54 million more expensive over the lowest bidder.

Tender result from LTA

There has been speculations in the market that the Singapore government gives higher priority to it’s state-owned companies, in a move to shore up profits of Temasek Holdings.