SMRT Corporation

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SMRT Corporation
IndustryPublic transport
Founded6 August 1987; 35 years ago (1987-08-06)[1]
Headquarters2 Tanjong Katong Road, #08-01, Paya Lebar Quarter (PLQ 3), Singapore 437161
Key people
Seah Moon Ming (Chairman)
Ngien Hoon Ping (from 1 August 2022)[2] (Group CEO)
ServicesBus & rail services
RevenueIncrease $1.297 billion (2016)
Increase $139 million (2016)
Increase $109 million (2016)
OwnerTemasek Holdings
Number of employees
9,500 (March 2016)
SubsidiariesSMRT Buses
SMRT Trains

SMRT Corporation is a multi-modal public transport operator in Singapore operating bus and rail services. A subsidiary of the Government of Singapore's Temasek Holdings, it was established on 6 August 1987 and listed on the Singapore Exchange from 26 July 2000 until 31 October 2016. It is one of the two major operators of Singapore's rail services along with SBS Transit.

Besides public transport, SMRT Corporation is involved in leasing advertising and commercial spaces within the transport network it operates, as well as in engaging operations and maintenance services, project management and engineering consultancy in Singapore and overseas. It also operates taxi and other transport services under its subsidiary Strides.



In 1967, city planners forecast a need for a rail-based urban transport system in Singapore by 1992.[3][4][5] Initial opposition by prominent ministers, among them Finance Minister Dr Goh Keng Swee and Trades and Industry Minister Dr Tony Tan, nearly shuttered the program due to financial grounds and concerns of jobs saturation in the construction industry.[6] Goh instead endorsed the idea of an all-bus system recommended by Harvard University specialists, who argued would reduce the cost by 50% compared to the proposed MRT system. Public opinion was split on the matter, with several expressing concerns on the high cost and others being more focused on increasing the standard of living. Following a debate on whether a bus-only system would be more cost-effective, Communications Minister Ong Teng Cheong came to the conclusion that an all-bus system would be inadequate, as it would have to compete for road space in a land-scarce country. Ong was an architect and town planner by training and through his perseverance and dedication became the main figure behind the initial construction of the system.[7][8]

Singapore's MRT infrastructure is built, operated, and managed in accordance with a hybridised quasi-nationalised regulatory framework called the New Rail Financing Framework (NRFF), in which the lines are constructed and the assets owned by the Land Transport Authority, a statutory board of the Government of Singapore.[9]

Opening of the various stages (1987–1990)

Mass Rapid Transit Corporation[edit]

The Mass Rapid Transit Corporation (MRTC) was established on 14 October 1983 and took over the roles and responsibilities of the former provisional Mass Rapid Transit Authority.[7][10]

On 7 November 1987, the MRTC commenced operating services on Singapore's first Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) section, consisting of five stations from Yio Chu Kang to Toa Payoh.[11] On 1 September 1995, MRTC, along with Roads & Transportation Division of the Public Works Department and Land Transportation Division of the Ministry of Communications, merged to form the Land Transport Authority.[12][13] The operations of the MRT system were regrouped under SMRT Limited, as a private state-owned company owned by the government's investment arm Temasek Holdings.[14]


In 1998, ownership of the rail assets encompassing the operation of the MRT system network were transferred to SMRT Limited. The process was executed under a License and Operating Agreement, which stated the maintenance obligation of SMRT Limited covering the infrastructures and assets of the transit system. On 26 July 2000, SMRT Limited was listed on the Singapore Exchange as SMRT Corporation, with Temasek Holdings selling 33% of its shares.[15][16][17]

In July 2001, SMRT launched a takeover bid for Trans-Island Bus Services (TIBS) that was accepted.[18][19] The transaction was completed in December 2001, with TIBS being operated as a wholly owned subsidiary.[20][21] As part of a corporate rebranding programme, TIBS was rebranded as SMRT Buses in May 2004.


In September 2016, Temasek Holdings completed a successful takeover bid for the 46% of SMRT that it did not own which resulted in SMRT being delisted from the Singapore Exchange and returning to government control.[22] All its train operating assets were sold to the government under the Land Transport Authority's new Rail Financing Framework.[23] The bus operating assets were also sold to the government under Land Transport Authority's Bus Contracting Model.

Being asset light will allow SMRT to focus on the operational reliability of the public transport system and its business ventures overseas.[24]

The buy-out was approved by the High Court of Singapore and the last day of trading of SMRT shares was 18 October 2016.[25]

From 1 October 2016, the Land Transport Authority assumed all the rail operating assets from SMRT under a New Rail Financing Framework that allows the company to focus on its operational reliability.


SMRT's primary business is providing public-transport services in Singapore, with operations in the following (as of 2015):


  1. ^ "SBS to be offered up to 25% of MRT company". The Straits Times (retrieved from NLB). 7 August 1987. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  2. ^ Hamzah, Firdaus (18 March 2022). "Ngien Hoon Ping named new CEO of SMRT, will take over from Neo Kian Hong on Aug 1". CNA. Retrieved 15 April 2022.
  3. ^ Seah C. M. (1981). Southeast Asian Affairs. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. p. 293.
  4. ^ Sharp 2005, p. 66
  5. ^ Fwa Tien Fang (4 September 2004). Sustainable Urban Transportation Planning and Development — Issues and Challenges for Singapore (Report). Department of Civil Engineering, National University of Singapore. CiteSeerX
  6. ^ Mai Yun, Wong (17 December 1981). "Foolish to build MRT now: Tony Tan". The Straits Times. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  7. ^ a b "1982 – The Year Work Began". Land Transport Authority. Archived from the original on 29 September 2013. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
  8. ^ Lee Siew Hoon & Chandra Mohan. "In Memoriam — Ong Teng Cheong: A Profile". CNA. Singapore: Mediacorp. Archived from the original on 23 February 2002. Retrieved 26 November 2007.
  9. ^ "New Rail Financing Framework". Archived from the original on 14 January 2020. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  10. ^ Annual report 1984. Singapore: Mass Rapid Transit Corporation. 1084. p. 5.
  11. ^ Rav, Dhaliwal (12 December 1987). "Shopping for Xmas the MRT way..." Straits Times. Retrieved 19 September 2017 – via eResources.
  12. ^ In Brief Railway Gazette International October 1995 page 611
  13. ^ Information Kit SMRT Corporation
  14. ^ Fwa Tien Fang (2016). 50 Years Of Transportation In Singapore: Achievements And Challenges - World Scientific Series On Singapore's 50 Years Of Nation-building. Singapore: World Scientific. pp. 112–117. ISBN 9789814651615.
  15. ^ Finance Railway Gazette International August 2000
  16. ^ Singapore metro goes public Railway Gazette International September 2000
  17. ^ Independent, The (18 October 2016). "SMRT to be delisted from SGX after 16 years | The Independent". Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  18. ^ "Who gains in MRT-bus merger" The Straits Times 11 July 2001
  19. ^ "SMRT Looks to Expand Rail with Takeover Bid for TIBS" Wall Street Journal 30 July 2001
  20. ^ "TIBS shares to be Delisted Today" The Straits Times 12 December 2001 page 10
  21. ^ Annual report for year ended 30 December 2001 SMRT Corporation
  22. ^ Majority of SMRt shareholders vote in favour of rail asset sale, Temasek buyout Channel NewsAsia 29 September 2016
  23. ^ "Shareholders approve Temasek buyout of Singapore rail operator". Reuters. 30 September 2016.
  24. ^ "Shareholders say yes to SMRT privatisation". Asiaone. 30 September 2016. Archived from the original on 4 October 2016. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  25. ^ "High Court approves Temasek's buyout of SMRT". Channel NewsAsia. 17 October 2016. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
  26. ^ "SMRT Bus Fleet". SMRT Corporation. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  27. ^ "Statistics (Operations)". SMRT Corporation. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  28. ^ "Statistics (Operations)". SMRT Corporation. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  29. ^ "Maxi Cab". Retrieved 21 May 2021.

External links[edit]

Media related to SMRT Corporation at Wikimedia Commons