SBS Transit marks 50 years, will open new bus driver training centre, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

SBS Transit marks 50 years, will open new bus driver training centre

SBS Transit, Singapore’s leading bus operator, turned 50 on Friday and expressed its renewed focus on enhancing its human capital and giving back to the community.

Chairman Bob Tan announced at the anniversary dinner at Fairmont Singapore that the listed company, which is majority-owned by transport giant ComfortDelGro Corp, would set up “a new Bus Captain Training and Certification Centre”.

“The new facility, which will include more training rooms and a new training circuit, will open our doors to train new bus captains for the industry,” Mr Tan said.

“Working closely with the Land Transport Authority’s Singapore Bus Academy, the centre will play an important role in helping to elevate bus driving proficiency, road safety, and service excellence.”

The centre will be at the Ulu Pandan Bus Depot, and will be operational from the second quarter of 2024. It will be the first facility here to train and license Class 4A drivers for public buses.

Among the public transport service providers, both SBS Transit and SMRT Buses have their own driver training centres, while Tower Transit and Go-Ahead train their drivers at commercial centres.

The move aims to standardise proficiency in driving, safety and customer service.

SBS Transit, which also operates the North East and Downtown MRT lines, has separately signed a memorandum of understanding with Enterprise Singapore to set up the SBS Transit Mobility Innovation Centre.

The centre will be a hub for learning, networking and collaboration among government agencies, industry experts, academia, small and medium-sized enterprises and other key stakeholders. It is slated to open in the second-half of 2024.

SBS Transit is committing $5 million over the next two years for this endeavour, which will focus on making public transport more inclusive.

Acting Transport Minister Chee Hong Tat, who was guest of honour at the dinner, said he looked forward to new ideas and innovations, but called on the company to retain its focus on its core competence.

“Amidst the push for innovation, I encourage SBS Transit to further strengthen your core business, to provide safe, reliable and cost-efficient public transport services,” Mr Chee added.

“As our bus and rail assets age, the intensity and complexity of maintenance and renewal works will also increase.”

Meanwhile, the company, which was formed by a Government-directed amalgamation of three private bus operators five decades ago, will be donating $750,000 over three years to the Community Chest, in support of causes related to persons with disabilities as well as those with mental illnesses.

SBS Transit has hired 26 persons with disabilities for frontline positions, and Mr Tan said “we continue to hire more”.

One of the areas future hires will work in is bus and rail maintenance, with a target of 20 such placements (including internships) over the next three years. 

The company has also raised another $350,000 for the Community Chest, which was presented at the anniversary dinner.

Meanwhile, SBS Transit is collaborating with the Singapore Land Authority on expanding barrier-free routes in Singapore’s public transport network, and on making information about the routes easily available to the public.