SBS Transit

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SBS Transit Ltd
TypePublic company
SGX: S61
IndustryPublic transport
PredecessorAmalgamated Bus Company
Associated Bus Services
United Bus Company
Founded1 July 1973; 48 years ago (1973-07-01) (as Singapore Bus Services)
1 November 2001; 20 years ago (2001-11-01) (as SBS Transit)
Area served
Key people
Bob Tan Beng Hai[1] (Chairman)
Cheng Siak Kian[2] (CEO)
ServicesBus & rail services
RevenueIncrease S$1.19 billion (2017)
Increase S$59.3 million (2017)
Increase S$47.1 million (2017)
OwnerComfortDelGro Corporation (75%)
Number of employees
10,239 (2017)

SBS Transit Ltd (SBST) (SGX: S61) is a multi-modal public transport operator in Singapore operating bus and rail services. With a majority of its shares owned by ComfortDelGro Corporation at 75%, it was formerly known as Singapore Bus Services before rebranding to SBS Transit on 1 November 2001. It is the largest public bus operator in Singapore.


Singapore Bus Services (1973-2001)[edit]

Singapore Bus Services (SBS) was established on 1 July 1973 when the regional bus companies Amalgamated Bus Company, Associated Bus Services and United Bus Company (which were in turn results of amalgamations of privately-run Chinese bus companies of the 1960s in 1971) agreed to merge their operations with each taking shareholdings of 53%, 19% and 28% respectively in the new company.[3][4][5] The government-sanctioned merger was undertaken to improve service standards of the bus transport system. On 26 June 1978, SBS was listed on the Stock Exchange of Singapore (SES) as Singapore Bus Service (1978) Limited.[6][7]

Between 1995 and 2000, a series of route handovers took place between SBS and TIBS. SBS gave up its Bukit Panjang (1995), Choa Chu Kang (1999) and Bukit Batok (2000) routes to TIBS, in exchange for the Sengkang and Punggol (1999) routes from TIBS.[8][9] This was done as part of SBS Transit's upcoming operation of the North East line in the north east. The Sengkang and Punggol routes were previously operated by SBS until they were transferred to TIBS in 1995.

On 12 November 1997, Singapore Bus Services (1978) Limited was renamed DelGro Corporation, with SBS restructured as a subsidiary of DelGro Corporation and listed separately on the SES.[10][7]

SBS also operated taxis as SBS Taxis. SBS Taxis merged with Singapore Commuter and Singapore Airport Bus Services on 1 July 1995 to form CityCab, which remained part of DelGro Corporation.[11][12][13]

SBS Transit (2001-present)[edit]

On 1 November 2001, Singapore Bus Services was rebranded as SBS Transit to reflect it becoming a multi-modal transport operator with the impending opening of the Sengkang LRT line and North East MRT line.[7]

On 29 March 2003, DelGro Corporation merged with Comfort Group to form ComfortDelGro Corporation.[7] ComfortDelGro Corporation owns 75% of the shares in SBS Transit.

On 20 June 2003, SBS Transit commenced operating the North East MRT line, followed by the Downtown MRT line on 22 December 2013.[14][15]



Until the introduction of the Bus Contracting Model (BCM), SBS Transit operated the majority of routes in almost all areas of Singapore, with the notable exception of the North and Northwest areas, where bus services were mainly run by SMRT Buses. However, with the introduction of the BCM, some SBS Transit bus services were taken over by Tower Transit Singapore (Bulim Bus Package) and Go-Ahead Singapore (Loyang Bus Package). As of September 2021, there are 228 wheelchair-accessible bus services that SBS Transit operates.

SBS Transit later became the first local operator to win a tender under the BCM in April 2017, and began operating the Seletar Bus Package on 18 March 2018.[16] It was announced in 2018 by LTA that SBS Transit had won the subsequent package, the Bukit Merah Bus Package.[17]

On 29 May 2021, Service 974 was handed over to SBS Transit from Tower Transit, making it the operator's first and only 9xx route & the operator's return to daily service in Choa Chu Kang ever since it handed over to TIBS (now SMRT) in 1999.


A MAN A22 bus that was transferred to SBS Transit from SMRT Buses in 2018 as part of the Seletar Bus Package
The three-door MAN A95 demonstrator, which was introduced in late 2015 and is currently operated by SBS Transit since 2018

As at December 2019, SBS Transit operated more than 3,500 buses.[18]

SBS Transit operates a mix of single decker, double decker and articulated buses.[19]

Single deckers

Double deckers

A MAN A95 Batch 5 Euro 6, which debuted on 30 March 2020. SBS Transit is one of the two operators currently operating the MAN A95 Batch 5 Euro 6.

Articulated buses


A 1989 Scania N113CRB still bearing the original SBS livery at Bedok Bus Interchange.
SBS Transit purchased 12 Volgren-bodied CNG Volvo B10BLE buses.

When SBS was first formed in 1973, it inherited a wide variety of buses of various makes from its Chinese predecessors. Examples of such buses included the Albion Viking VK, Mercedes-Benz LP1113 and OF1413 and Nissan Diesel RX102K3 with small numbers of Ford R192 and 226, Seddon, Fargo-Kew, Bedford and Austin.[21] Most of these buses were bodied by local coachbuilder Soon Chow although some were bodied by other companies such as Supreme Star and Strachan.[22] Subsequent models that were purchased by SBS included Berliet and Guy Victory in the 1970s and the Volvo B57 and Mercedes-Benz OF1417 in the 1980s, the latter which were bodied by foreign coachbuilders like New Zealand Motor Bodies and Hawke Coachwork.[21]

In 1976, SBS purchased its first 20 Leyland Atlantean AN68 buses to evaluate the suitability of double-decker bus operation, with the buses first entering service on 13 June 1977.[21] Following the success of the trial, SBS ordered another 500 Leyland Atlantean AN68 buses from 1978 up to 1984, all of which were either bodied by Metal Sections or Walter Alexander Coachbuilders; SBS also conducted comparative trials of double-decker buses of other makes, namely the Leyland Olympian, Volvo Ailsa B55, Scania BR112DH, Dennis Dominator, Mercedes-Benz O305 and Volvo B10MD Citybus.[23] In 1984, SBS purchased another 200 Leyland Olympian and 200 Mercedes-Benz O305 double-decker buses.[23] SBS also conducted an evaluation of air conditioned buses (namely the ex-Singapore Airport Bus Services Mercedes-Benz OF1413 coaches) that year and conducted similar trials with other bus models like the Nissan Diesel U31S and Renault PR100 before its first bulk order for 50 Scania N113CRB buses in 1989.[21][23]

In the 1990s, some bus makes on the roads included the Volvo B10M, Scania N113CRB, Mercedes-Benz O405, Leyland and Volvo Olympian and Dennis Dart.[24] SBS also conducted trials of high capacity single decker buses, namely a superlong Volvo B10M Mark IV, an articulated Volvo B10MA and an articulated Mercedes-Benz O405G, in 1996 although the trial did not succeed.[23] The first low-floor bus, a Volgren-bodied Volvo B10TL demonstrator was brought to SBS by Volvo Buses for trial purposes in 1999. After its successful trial, 51 Volvo B10TL chassis were further brought in by SBS Transit. 50 buses are bodied by Volgren between 2002 and 2003 while 1 remaining chassis is being reserved for a ComfortDelGro Engineering bodywork, which entered revenue service by 2005. The first wheelchair-accessible bus was also brought into service in 2006. SBS Transit CNG buses began service in 2002. Hybrid and electric buses came into foray since 2019, although small-scale trials began in 2010.

In 2019, several Volvo B10BLE CNG buses were retired early and scrapped as part of MOT's goal of 100% Wheelchair Accessible Fleet by 2020. In March 2021, several Volvo B9TL CDGEs were retired early and scrapped together with Volvo B10TL CDGE that was built in 2005.[citation needed]

Interchanges & Terminals[edit]

SBS Transit serves as the anchor operator for Ang Mo Kio Bus Interchange, Bedok Bus Interchange, Bishan Bus Interchange, Boon Lay Bus Interchange, Bouna Vista Bus Terminal, Bukit Merah Bus Interchange, Changi Airport Bus Terminal, Changi Business Park Bus Terminal, Changi Village Bus Terminal, Clementi Bus Interchange, Compassvale Bus Interchange, Eunos Bus Interchange, Ghim Moh Bus Terminal, HarbourFront Bus Interchange, Hougang Central Bus Interchange, Joo Koon Bus Interchange, Kampong Bahru Bus Terminal, Kent Ridge Bus Terminal, Marina Centre Bus Terminal, Queen Street Bus Terminal, Sengkang Bus Interchange, Serangoon Bus Interchange, Shenton Way Bus Terminal, Saint Michael's Bus Terminal, Sims Place Bus Terminal, Tampines Bus Interchange, Tampines Concourse Bus Interchange, Toa Payoh Bus Interchange, Tuas Bus Terminal, Upper East Coast Bus Terminal & Yio Chu Kang Bus Interchange.

SBS Transit serves as the non-anchor operator(s) for Beach Station Bus Terminal, Bukit Batok Bus Interchange, JB Sentral Bus Terminal (temporarily suspended), Jurong East Bus Interchange, Larkin Bus Terminal (temporarily suspended), Lorong 1 Geylang Bus Terminal, Pasir Ris Bus Interchange, Punggol Bus Interchange, Resorts World Sentosa, Sembawang Bus Interchange, Woodlands Integrated Transport Hub & Yishun Bus Interchange.


SBS Transit operates Ang Mo Kio, Bedok North, Bukit Batok, Hougang, Seletar, Soon Lee and Ulu Pandan bus depots. Some of the latest additions were also used for Bus Service Enhancement Programme since 17 September 2012.[25]

Mass Rapid Transit[edit]

SBS Transit manages two of Singapore's six MRT lines in the network, the North East Line (NEL) since its opening on 20 June 2003 and the Downtown Line (DTL) since its opening on 22 December 2013.[26] The NEL currently has 19.2 km and 16 stations.

The NEL currently has 19.2 km and 16 stations, running from HarbourFront in the south-west to Punggol in the north-east. The NEL used a fleet composed of two very similar series of 43 Alstom Metropolis train-sets, dubbed C751A and C751C by SBS Transit.[27][28] The operating license for the NEL was awarded to SBS Transit in order to foster competition with SMRT Trains and to create multi-modal public transport companies, each specialising in their own district. SBS Transit's contract runs until 31 March 2033.[29][30]

The NEL was Singapore's third metro line and the city's first automated and driverless system. It is sometimes referred to as "the first driverless heavy metro line in the world" or the "world’s first fully automated and driverless high-capacity rapid transit line"[31][32] Whereas driverless metro systems have existed long before (notably the Lille Metro since 1983, the Vancouver Skytrain since 1985 and the Paris Metro Line 14 since 1998), the NEL is the first application of a fully automated and driverless metro system with heavy rail characteristics such as overhead catenary (in contrast to earlier systems using third rail) and 1,435 mm standard-gauge (in contrast to earlier systems featuring smaller rail profiles).

The DTL currently has 41.9 km and 34 stations, running from Bukit Panjang station in the north-west to Expo station in the east via the Central Area. The DTL is fully automated and driverless as well. The DTL uses a fleet of 92 Bombardier Movia C951/C951A trains-sets.[33]


Class Image Maximum Speed (km/h) Trains built Cars per set Lines served Built Introduction into service
Design Service


C751A front.jpg 100 90 25 6 North East Line 2000 - 2003 20 June 2003


Alstom Metropolis C751C Interior Sep 2016 (2).jpg 18 2014 - 2015 1 October 2015


6 2020 TBA 2024*


C951 train in the tunnel 151017.jpg 90 80 92 3 Downtown Line 2012 - 2017 22 December 2013

Light Rail Transit[edit]

SBS Transit also operates two LRT lines. The Sengkang LRT line and Punggol LRT line provide feeder connections in their respective towns to the two North East line stations. Both lines have a total of 29 stations, including Sengkang and Punggol stations. SBS Transit's contract runs until 31 March 2033.[29][30]


Class Image Maximum Speed (km/h) Trains built Cars per set Lines served Built Introduction into service
Design Service


SBS Transit Mitsubishi Crystal C810A 2014-08-01 22-38.jpg 80 70 41 1 Sengkang LRT
Punggol LRT
2001 - 2003 18 January 2003


C810A Trainset 47.jpg 16 2012 - 2016 5 April 2016


  1. ^ Ng, Hong Siang (29 April 2021). "SBS Transit appoints former SMRT board member as new chairman". CNA. Retrieved 5 May 2021.
  2. ^ Ramchandani, Nisha (1 March 2021). "SBS appoints Cheng Siak Kian as CEO". The Business Times. Retrieved 5 May 2021.
  3. ^ "Merger plan by the 3 bus firms". The Straits Times. Singapore. 14 April 1973. p. 15.
  4. ^ "Bus firms agree to a big merger". New Nation. Singapore. 26 May 1973. p. 2.
  5. ^ "Better deal for bus commuters". The Straits Times. Singapore. 1 July 1973. p. 1.
  6. ^ "Active Trading in SBS Shares". The Straits Times. Singapore. 27 June 1978. p. 1.
  7. ^ a b c d Corporate Profile ComfortDelGro
  8. ^ "Tibs takes over services". The Straits Times. Singapore. 11 August 1995. p. 32.
  9. ^ "Tibs and SBS in routes swap". Business Times. Singapore. 15 July 1999.
  10. ^ "SBS Limited changes its name to DelGro". The Straits Times. 13 November 1997. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  11. ^ "New cab fleet". The New Paper. Singapore. 19 May 1995. p. 4.
  12. ^ "SBS, ST Automotive sign deal to merge taxi arms". The Straits Times. Singapore. 19 May 1995. p. 19.
  13. ^ "Milestones". ComfortDelgro Taxi. Retrieved 28 July 2019.
  14. ^ SBS Transit Celebrates First Anniversary of North East Line SBS Transit 20 June 2004
  15. ^ SBS Transit selected to operate Downtown Line Metro Report International 30 August 2011
  16. ^ "LTA Awards Third Bus Package to SBS Transit Ltd". Land Transport Authority. 19 April 2017.
  17. ^ SBS Transit wins Bukit Merah bus package for S$472 million Channel NewsAsia 23 February 2018
  18. ^
  19. ^ "In Pictures: Bus Models". Land Transport Guru. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  20. ^ More SBS Transit Volvo B9TLs Coach & Bus Week 11 July 2014
  21. ^ a b c d York, FW; Davis, Mike; Phillips, Ron (2005). Singapore Buses Volume 1 Singapore Bus Service Part 1: Early Single-Deck Buses and the First Double-Deckers. DTS Publishing. ISBN 9781900515757.
  22. ^ ILee, Imm Yew; Lee, Hong Meng; Lim, Joseph PK; Poon, Ngai Seng (2007). The Soon Chow Story: 80 Years of Bus and Coach. ISBN 9789810589721.
  23. ^ a b c d Davis, Mike; Phillips, Ron (2005). Singapore Buses Volume 1 Singapore Bus Service Part 2: Double and Single-Deck Buses from the 1980s to 2005. DTS Publishing (published 2006). ISBN 9781900515269.
  24. ^ "SBS Transit".
  25. ^ "Improvements to more than 50 bus services, better connectivity with five new bus services by end 2012". PublicTransport@SG. 13 September 2012. Archived from the original on 21 September 2012.
  26. ^ Land Transport Masterplan: Downtown Line Stage 1 to open on Dec 22 The Straits Times 7 October 2013
  27. ^ First North East Line trains arrive in Singapore International Railway Journal 23 July 2014
  28. ^ Driverless trains delivered to Singapore Railway Gazette International 23 July 2014
  29. ^ a b North East Line, Sengkang and Punggol LRTs to move to new financing framework Channel NewsAsia 14 February 2018
  30. ^ a b Final Singapore metro lines transferred to new concession model Metro Report International 16 February 2018
  31. ^ "Alstom in Singapore" (PDF). 8 December 2019. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 December 2019. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  32. ^ "DNV GL cable monitoring system to enhance Singapore rail reliability". DNV GL. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  33. ^ Bombardier delivers first Downtown Line train Metro Report International 15 October 2012

Further reading[edit]

  • Ilsa Sharp, (2005), SNP:Editions, The Journey — Singapore's Land Transport Story. ISBN 981-248-101-X
  • York, FW; Davis, Mike; Phillips, Ron (2005). Singapore Buses Volume 1 Singapore Bus Service Part 1: Early Single-Deck Buses and the First Double-Deckers. DTS Publishing. ISBN 978-1-900515-75-7.
  • Davis, Mike; Phillips, Ron (2005). Singapore Buses Volume 1 Singapore Bus Service Part 2: Double and Single-Deck Buses from the 1980s to 2005. DTS Publishing (published 2006). ISBN 978-1-900515-26-9.

External links[edit]

Media related to SBS Transit at Wikimedia Commons