SMRT Buses

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SMRT Buses Ltd
SMB8033M on 300 (cropped).jpg
Slogan Moving People, Enhancing Lives
Parent SMRT Corporation
Founded 15 May 1975 (as CSS)[1] & 31 May 1982 (as TIBS)
10 May 2004 (rebranded after merger)
Headquarters Singapore
Service type Bus service
Routes 89[2]
Stations 6 (Interchanges)
3 (Terminals)
4 (Depots)
Fleet Over 1400 buses (2015)[2]
Daily ridership 1.0 million (FY2015)[2]
Chief executive Desmond Kuek (President & CEO)
Website SMRT Buses
A mix of resprayed buses in red livery with some in older, yellow TIBS livery parked at Bukit Panjang Bus Interchange, shortly after TIBS's rebranding.

SMRT Buses, originally Trans Island Bus Services (TIBS), is a public bus transport operator in Singapore. Before the Bus Contracting Model was introduced,[3] 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.[4]


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.[5]

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).[6][7]

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.[8] Eight bus services affected in the bus tender of Sengkang and Punggol were transferred to SBS Transit respectively;[8] 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.[8]

TIBS and SMRT first held talks for merger in 1999, which turned out to be unsuccessful,[9] the second round in 2001 resulted in an agreement for SMRT to buy TIBS at $194 million.[10] In 2004, the merger[11] 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.[12][13]

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).[14]


SMRT Buses owns more than 1,400 buses[2] and operates more than 100 bus services in Singapore, it has depots at Ang Mo Kio, Kranji and Woodlands and also partially occupies the Bulim and Loyang bus depots. 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.[15] Some of these recently acquired buses are used for Bus Service Enhancement Programme (BSEP) since 17 September 2012.[16]

Three bus models form the majority of SMRT Buses' fleet in 2016 before the start of the Bus Contracting Model:

Bus models[2][edit]

SMRT Mercedes-Benz Citaro wearing the SBS base livery
SG Buses Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 bodied Volvo B9TL under SMRT Corporation

Double decker buses[edit]

Articulated Buses[edit]

Single Deck Buses[edit]

Bus systems[edit]

SMRT Buses operates the smaller part of Singapore's duopoly bus system in almost all areas of Singapore especially the north, west and northeastern (Sengkang) areas. However, with the Bus Contracting Model, selected number of services which were originally run by SMRT were handed over to the newer operators, namely SBS Transit (Seletar Bus Package) and Tower Transit Singapore (Bulim Bus Package).[19]

In addition, SMRT Corporation has a minibus subsidiary Bus-Plus Services (now under Strides — a subsidiary of SMRT Cooperation) which provides some premium, free shuttle, chartered, and peak-hour peak period bus services throughout Singapore.[20][21]


  1. ^ "City Shuttle Service (CSS) Company was set up to provide shuttle services from the fringe car parks into the restricted city zone. Implement: 1975". LTA Singapore. Retrieved 25 December 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "SMRT Bus Fleet". SMRT Corporation. Retrieved 1 September 2017. 
  3. ^ "Transition to a Government Contracting Model for the Public Bus Industry. Release Date: 21 May 2014". LTA Singapore. Retrieved 25 December 2015. 
  4. ^ "Remembering the Orange Buses". SMRT Corporation. Retrieved 25 December 2015. 
  5. ^ "TIBS to take over in Bt Panjang, Jalan Kayu". Straits Times. Factiva. 26 June 1995. 
  6. ^ "Designer look for bendy buses". Straits Times. Factiva. 13 June 2000. 
  7. ^ Boey, David (18 August 1997). "Tibs buys 56 articulated buses,SBS says "No' to extra-long buses". Straits Times. Factiva. 
  8. ^ a b c Kuar, Karamjit (21 May 1999). "SBS to run North-East line - Tibs to merge with SMRT". Straits Times. Factiva. 
  9. ^ Leslie Koh and Philip Allen (11 July 2001). "Who gains in MRT-bus merger?". Straits Times. Factiva. 
  10. ^ Tan, Christoper (10 July 2001). "Does SMRT really need to buy Tibs?". Business Times (Singapore). Factiva. 
  11. ^ "TIBS Merger". SMRT Corporation. Retrieved 11 December 2015. 
  12. ^ "No-show by SMRT's bus drivers an "illegal strike": Tan Chuan-Jin". Channel Newsasia. Retrieved 27 November 2012. 
  13. ^ "SMRT strike situation explained to Chinese embassy: Tan Chuan-Jin". AsiaOne News. Retrieved 1 December 2012. 
  14. ^ "New Bus Depot To Support Bus Fleet Expansion Under BSEP". Land Transport Authority. Archived from the original on 11 January 2014. Retrieved 23 April 2013. 
  15. ^ Peralta, Claudette (21 November 1994). "Electronic signs on Tibs buses a hit with S'poreans". Straits Times. Factiva. 
  16. ^ "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. 
  17. ^ "MAN delivers 200 chassis to Singapore". MAN SE. 22 April 2013. Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  18. ^ a b "SMRT Buses enhances strategy for fleet growth and renewal: Double Deckers among confirmed delivery of over 570 buses". SMRT Buses. 2 April 2014. 
  19. ^ "Bukit Batok Bus Interchange". Land Transport Guru. 23 April 2013. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  20. ^ Yeo, Ghim Lay (8 December 2008). "Premium bus services riding high". Straits Times. Factiva. 
  21. ^ Tan, Christoper (16 December 2014). "Five more bus services during peaks in four towns". Straits Times. Retrieved 8 April 2015. 

External links[edit]