That London-based Tower Transit has been awarded a five-year bus contract by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) is good news for bus commuters here ("London-based Tower Transit wins govt bus contract"; last Saturday).
That a foreign firm has beaten SMRT and SBS Transit, despite not putting in the lowest bid, is an important signal to the local transport operators to buck up.
Unattractive work-shift scheduling and poor pay incentives could be some of the problems faced by bus drivers here, which may affect their service standards.
Whenever I have my coffee at a cafeteria above the bus interchange near my home, I hear bus drivers on their tea breaks griping about such issues loudly in Hokkien or Mandarin.
Local bus operators and the LTA could deploy personnel who are fluent in local dialects and Mandarin to such places to find out the problems faced by these drivers. Their managements must then follow through with solutions.
Injecting greater competition into the bus industry should push SMRT and SBS Transit to provide better service to bus commuters.
Gan Kok Tiong
This article was first published on May 11, 2015.
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