I take the bus to work every single day.
I thought that all I had to do was to wait at the bus stop, get on my bus, and arrive at my workplace.
But things changed when I was asked this question by a foreigner.
“Is this the biggest bus company in Singapore?”
We were onboard bus 506 operated by SBS Transit heading towards Jurong East Interchange.
I didn’t know how to answer her.
Honestly, my first thought was “why are you asking me this kind of question?”
But I soon realise that this could make a very good article and told my boss about it.
And here I am.
Ladies and gentlemen, sit back and relax, while I bring you through a factual ride.
1. What it stands for
Truth be told, I would be able to tell you what SMRT stands for at the back of my hand.
(FYI, it’s Singapore Mass Rapid Transit)
But I had no clue what SBS stood for until I was tasked with this article.
If Seoul Broadcasting System was the first thing that came to your mind, you’ve chanced upon the right article.
It’s actually kinda plain and predictable: Singapore Bus Service.
And that was what the company first named themselves in 1997 until it changed to ‘SBS Transit Limited’ instead.
SBS Transit does not just cover bus operations like many people assume.
And no, SMRT is not the sole rail operator.
The North-East Land the Downtown MRT lines, as well as the Punggol and Sengkang LRT lines, are all operated by SBS Transit.
3. Bus fleet
According to the SBS Transit website, it now boasts 3,100 buses.
They are all wheelchair-accessible and fully air-conditioned.
Sigh…back in my days…
Okay, shall not disclose my age.
Here are the three most common bus models that we see today:
The Volvo B9TL…
…the Scania K230UB…
…and the Mercedes-Benz Citaro
How many of you actually remember this?
This was an outdoor digital television previously installed in SBS Transit buses before it got discontinued in 2010.
Now, SBS Transit Moove Media is responsible for advertising on the Downtown Line trains only.
Singapore Bus Service (SBS) was formed in 1973 with the merger of three private bus companies.
It was a government-sanctioned merger was introduced to improve service standards of the bus transport system.
In 1997, Singapore Bus Service Pte Ltd changed its name to DelGro Corporation, in line with the shift towards multi-modal transport companies.
The Singapore Bus Service company name was kept.
In 2001, it was renamed to SBS Transit when the company started to take over the Sengkang LRT and the North-East Line (NEL).
In 2003, DelGro Corporation merged with Comfort Group to form ComfortDelGro.
SBS Transit remains under the merged company.
6. Bus routes
SBS owns 60% of the scheduled bus market share in Singapore, with the majority of the 40% belonging to its strongest competitor, SMRT.
SBS currently operates more than 200 bus services across the island!
7. Breaking records
The North-East Line (NEL) is the third line in Singapore, and also the world’s first fully underground and automated rapid transit line.
The Downtown Line (DTL) is the fifth line in Singapore.
The 42 km-long line is the world’s longest fully underground and automated rapid transit line.
8. Longest route
SBS Transit Bus Service 51 is a trunk service plying between Hougang Central and Jurong East, passing through Hougang Ave 3, Eunos, Bugis, Clarke Quay, Alexandra, Commonwealth, Pasir Panjang, West Coast and Pandan Gardens.
The whole journey is about 37.7km.
Just imagine running your 2.4km run 16 times!
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