SBS Transit

SBS Transit Ltd (SGX: S61) is a multi-modal public transport transport operator in Singapore operating bus, rail and taxi 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.

SBS Transit Ltd
Public company
Traded asSGX: S61
IndustryPublic transport
PredecessorAmalgamated Bus Company
Associated Bus Services
United Bus Company
Founded1 July 1973 (1973-07-01) (as Singapore Bus Services)
1 November 2001 (2001-11-01) (as SBS Transit)
Key people
Lim Jit Poh (Chairman)
Yang Ban Seng (CEO)
ServicesBus & rail services
Revenue S$1.19 billion (2017)
S$59.3 million (2017)
S$47.1 million (2017)
OwnerComfortDelGro Corporation (75%)
Number of employees
10,239 (2017)


Singapore Bus Services (1973-2001)

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.[1][2][3] 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.[4][5]

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.[6][7] 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.[8][5]

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.[9][10][11]

SBS Transit (2001-present)

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.[5]

On 29 March 2003, DelGro Corporation merged with Comfort Group to form ComfortDelGro Corporation.[5] 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.[12][13]



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 22 July 2019, there are 223 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.[14] It was announced in 2018 by LTA that SBS Transit had won the subsequent package, the Bukit Merah Bus Package.[15]


As at December 2018, SBS Transit operated more than 3,400 buses.[16]

SBS Transit operates a mix of single decker, double decker and articulated buses.[17]

Single deckers

Double deckers

Articulated 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.[19] Most of these buses were bodied by local coachbuilder Soon Chow although some were bodied by other companies such as Supreme Star and Strachan.[20] 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.[19]

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.[19] 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.[21] In 1984, SBS purchased another 200 Leyland Olympian and 200 Mercedes-Benz O305 double-decker buses.[21] 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.[19][21]

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.[22] 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.[21] The first low-floor buses began service in 1998 whereas CNG buses began service in 2002.


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.[23]

Mass Rapid Transit

SBS Transit has been the operator of the North East line since 20 June 2003 and the Downtown line since 22 December 2013.[24]

The North East line is the third line in Singapore, and also the world's first fully underground and automated rapid transit line. The line is 20 km long with 16 stations. The operating license 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.[25][26]

The North East Line connects central Singapore to the north-eastern part of the island. Transfers to the North South line are provided at Dhoby Ghaut, East West line at Outram Park and Circle line at Serangoon, Dhoby Ghaut and HarbourFront. The line is operated by 25 Alstom Metropolis C751A and 18 Alstom Metropolis C751C trains.[27][28]

The Downtown line is the fifth line in Singapore. With 34 stations, the 42 kilometre long line is Singapore's longest fully underground and automated rapid transit line. It was completed on 21 October 2017.[29]

The Downtown line connects the north-western and central-eastern to the new downtown. Transfers to this line from the North East line are available at Chinatown and Little India, the North South line at Newton, the Bukit Panjang LRT at Bukit Panjang LRT station, the East West line at Bugis, Tampines and Expo, the Circle line at MacPherson, Bayfront, Promenade and Botanic Gardens. A fleet of 92 Bombardier Movia C951 trains operate the line.[30]


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

100 90 25 150 North East Line 2000 - 2003 20 June 2003

100 90 18 108 2014 - 2015 1 October 2015

90 80 92 276 Downtown Line 2012 - 2016 22 December 2013

Light Rail Transit

SBS Transit also operates two LRT lines. The Sengkang LRT line and Punggol LRT line provides feeder connections in the estate 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.[25][26]


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

80 70 41 41 Sengkang LRT
Punggol LRT
2001 - 2003 18 January 2003

80 70 16 16 2012 - 2016 5 April 2016


  1. "Merger plan by the 3 bus firms". The Straits Times. Singapore. 14 April 1973. p. 15.
  2. "Bus firms agree to a big merger". New Nation. Singapore. 26 May 1973. p. 2.
  3. "Better deal for bus commuters". The Straits Times. Singapore. 1 July 1973. p. 1.
  4. "Active Trading in SBS Shares". The Straits Times. Singapore. 27 June 1978. p. 1.
  5. Corporate Profile ComfortDelGro
  6. "Tibs takes over services". The Straits Times. Singapore. 11 August 1995. p. 32.
  7. "Tibs and SBS in routes swap". Business Times. Singapore. 15 July 1999.
  8. "SBS Limited changes its name to DelGro". The Straits Times. 13 November 1997. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  9. "New cab fleet". The New Paper. Singapore. 19 May 1995. p. 4.
  10. "SBS, ST Automotive sign deal to merge taxi arms". The Straits Times. Singapore. 19 May 1995. p. 19.
  11. "Milestones". ComfortDelgro Taxi. Retrieved 28 July 2019.
  12. SBS Transit Celebrates First Anniversary of North East Line SBS Transit 20 June 2004
  13. SBS Transit selected to operate Downtown Line Metro Report International 30 August 2011
  14. "LTA Awards Third Bus Package to SBS Transit Ltd". Land Transport Authority. 19 April 2017.
  15. SBS Transit wins Bukit Merah bus package for S$472 million Channel NewsAsia 23 February 2018
  17. "In Pictures: Bus Models". Land Transport Guru. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  18. More SBS Transit Volvo B9TLs Coach & Bus Week 11 July 2014
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. Davis, Mike; Phillips, Ron (2006). Singapore Buses Volume 1 Singapore Bus Service Part 2: Double and Single-Deck Buses from the 1980s to 2005. DTS Publishing. ISBN 9781900515269.
  22. "SBS Transit".
  23. "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.
  24. Land Transport Masterplan: Downtown Line Stage 1 to open on Dec 22 The Straits Times 7 October 2013
  25. North East Line, Sengkang and Punggol LRTs to move to new financing framework Channel NewsAsia 14 February 2018
  26. Final Singapore metro lines transferred to new concession model Metro Report International 16 February 2018
  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 sneak peak at Downtown Line 3's stations The Straits Times 25 September 2017
  30. Bombardier delivers first Downtown Line train Metro Report International 15 October 2012

Further reading

  • 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 9781900515757.
  • Davis, Mike; Phillips, Ron (2006). Singapore Buses Volume 1 Singapore Bus Service Part 2: Double and Single-Deck Buses from the 1980s to 2005. DTS Publishing. ISBN 9781900515269.

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