Singapore Government Press Release

Media Division, Ministry of Information and The Arts,

36th Storey, PSA Building, 460 Alexandra Road, Singapore 119963.

Tel: 3757794/5






The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has decided to appoint the Singapore Bus Services Ltd (SBS) as the operator for the North East MRT line (NEL) and the adjoining Sengkang and Punggol Light Rapid Transit systems (LRTs).


In December 1998, LTA invited SBS and Trans-Island Bus Services (TIBS) to take part in a closed tender for the licence to operate the NEL and the two adjoining LRT systems in Sengkang and Punggol. The tender, which closed on 1 March 1999, was evaluated based on the merits of the two tenderers' proposals and ability to operate the NEL in a well-managed, safe and efficient manner,as well as their plans to integrate MRT, LRT and bus operations along the North East corridor. SBSí proposal was assessed to be the better one. LTA will hence award the tender to operate the NEL and the Sengkang and Punggol LRT systems to SBS.


With this appointment, SBS will become a multi-modal operator to provide integrated bus, MRT and LRT services along the North East corridor. This is in line with the Governmentís plan to restructure the public transport industry into a multi-modal one, with the operators providing more seamless and integrated transport services across different transport modes. To achieve better integration of public transport services along the North East corridor, the Government will reallocate to SBS the bus operations in Sengkang and Punggol (currently served by TIBS) in exchange for SBSí bus operations in Choa Chu Kang and Bukit Batok towns.


The Government envisages that there is room for at least two main multi-modal operators in Singapore to provide more competitive services. TIBS and SMRT could be the other multi-modal operator to serve the Woodlands, Yishun, Choa Chu Kang, Bukit Panjang and Bukit Batok corridor.


Details of the timing and phasing of the exchange of bus services will be announced later. To ensure a smooth phasing in, this exchange shall take place prior to the operation of the NEL.


The NEL and the Sengkang LRT are scheduled to commence operations in 2002. The Punggol LRT will open in 2004.





20 May 1999