|Company||SMRT Buses Limited|
|Foundation|| 15 May 1975 (as CSS) & 31 May 1982 (as TIBS)|
10 May 2004 (rebranded after merger)
|Key People|| Koh Yong Guan (Chairman)|
Desmond Kuek (President & CEO)
|Products||Bus Services in Singapore|
SMRT Buses, originally Trans Island Bus Services (TIBS), is a public bus transport operator in Singapore. Before the Bus Contracting Model was introduced, Singapore had a duopoly transport system in which SMRT's only competitor was SBS Transit, which also operates bus services in Singapore. The company was incorporated as TIBS on 31 May 1982, in a heavily regulated market, to be a competitor to Singapore Bus Service. In accordance with restructuring at parent company SMRT Corporation, TIBS was renamed "SMRT Buses" on 10 May 2004 along with the subsequent merger of City Shuttle Service.
In 1982, the company ran with a fleet of 37 buses and two services, Service 160 (later renumbered Service 980) and Service 167. Later, more services were handed over to them by the government along with the tender to operate services in the northern region, mainly Yishun and the developing Woodlands.
In 1995, as part of the government's plan to make the local bus system more competitive, 16 SBS Transit services were handed over to TIBS Holdings (TIBS) along with the tender to operate bus services in the north-east corridor, mainly the developing towns Sengkang and Punggol as well as Bukit Panjang.
In 1996, TIBS began operations at the now closed Woodlands Regional Bus Interchange, Singapore's first underground bus interchange. It was also the first bus interchange designed to accommodate articulated buses. TIBS used articulated buses, some of which were designed by world-renowned designer, Pininfarina and was known as the Habit articulated buses, on a large scale in its fleet, in contrast to the double-deckers used by Singapore Bus Service (SBS).
In 1999, SBS Transit was awarded both bus and train services in the entire north-east corridor with the North East Line, Sengkang LRT and Punggol LRT by the Land Transport Authority, both based in Sengkang. Eight bus services affected in the bus tender of Sengkang and Punggol were transferred to SBS Transit respectively. In return, TIBS was awarded to operate bus services in the north-west corridor towns of Choa Chu Kang and Bukit Batok, where the handover was done in stages together with the opening of Bukit Panjang LRT. Services 61, 106 and 173 were the last services to be handed over mainly due to extra time involved.
TIBS and SMRT first held talks for merger in 1999, which turned out to be unsuccessful. The second round in 2001 resulted in an agreement for SMRT to buy TIBS at $194 million. In 2004, the merger was completed, and TIBS adopted the name SMRT Buses to reflect their merger with SMRT. Presently all SMRT buses are managed by SMRT Corporation, headed by Group President and CEO Desmond Kuek.
On 26 November 2012, 170 bus drivers (all of whom are foreign nationals from China), refused to leave their living quarters for work. This reduced bus services to 90% of normal levels. The Ministry of Manpower considered it an illegal strike since the group failed to give a 14 days notice prior to disrupting an essential public service, as is required by the local laws. As a result, 5 of the strikers were jailed for instigating the strike, and another 29 were deported.
On 23 April 2013, the Land Transport Authority announced that a new Bulim Bus Depot will be built by the authority itself. It will be located off Jurong West Avenue 2. It will be the first depot that LTA is developing and funding, as part of the review of the enhanced structural assistance that Government is providing the bus industry announced in Committee of Supply (COS) 2012. The depot was intended for SMRT Buses Ltd, to accommodate the additional buses that it is bringing in over the next few years, until the Bus Contracting Model kicked in and Tower Transit took over its operations. SMRT Buses' existing bus depots and bus park were reaching full capacity, and the new facility was necessary to support the higher number of buses as the overall bus capacity was progressively increased under the Bus Service Enhancement Programme (BSEP).
SMRT Buses owns more than 1,400 buses and operates more than 100 bus services in Singapore. It has depots at Ang Mo Kio, Kranji and Woodlands and also partially occupies the Loyang Bus Depot. It is currently the only operator of articulated buses in Singapore, and introduced double-decker buses in 2014. It is also the first operator to introduce Electronic Destination Signage (EDS) on its buses since 1990, which is now standard equipment. Some of these recently acquired buses are used for Bus Service Enhancement Programme (BSEP) since 17 September 2012.
Active / Partially retired
Excludes buses retired during the TIBS era
- Dennis Lance
- Hino HS3K
- Mercedes-Benz O405
- Nissan Diesel U31RCN
- Scania L113CRL
- Yutong ZK6126HGC
- Zhongtong Sunny LCK6121GHEV
- Mercedes-Benz O405G - Hispano Carrocera (Mark I)
SMRT Buses operates many different types of bus routes and bus services, taking up the smaller part of the pie of Singapore's duopoly bus system in almost all areas of Singapore especially the north and northwest areas. However, with the current Bus Contracting Model, selected number of existing services run by SMRT will be handed over to the newer operators, namely Tower Transit Singapore.