SINGAPORE: New bus operator Go-Ahead Singapore has hired 655 bus captains – or 93.6 per cent of its stated 700 vacancies – ahead of the launch of its bus services in September, it said on Thursday (Jun 16).
The UK-based operator will operate the new Loyang bus depot running 25 bus routes from the Changi Airport and Changi Village bus terminals, as well as the Pasir Ris and Punggol bus interchanges.
Speaking to reporters on a tour of the Loyang depot facilities on Thursday, Go-Ahead Singapore said that of the 655 bus captains, 60 per cent are Singaporean or Permanent Residents, with 350 from incumbent SBS Transit and 305 new hires.
“We’re now in the key stage of training and obviously enhancing the skillsets of the people and individuals we’ve employed,” said Go-Ahead Singapore’s Managing Director Nigel Wood. “Recruitment carries on; there’s a projection that we need to fulfill, but training is now key – training our engineers up to meet our quality standards that we want to bring.”
Mr Wood added that one of the company’s initial key aims was to recruit “as many Singaporeans as we can”.
Only three of the local bus captains are women though, but one of them, Ms Tan Mee Chin, expects more to come on board in time.
“There’ll be more, I believe there’ll be more.” Ms Tan said in Mandarin. “Maybe because it’s a new company or some are in the midst of other careers, but more will come and follow my lead.”
The Loyang bus depot. (Photo: Kenneth Lim)
About 60 per cent of the new hires are first-time bus captains, including former taxi and delivery drivers. The median age of the bus captains is 45 years, the company said.
In February, Go-Ahead Singapore announced its employment terms and benefits for its bus captains. These included:
- A minimum basic starting salary of S$1,865 for Singaporean and PR bus captains;
- A S$2,000 sign-on bonus for experienced captains;
- A one-time S$1,000 retention bonus;
- A S$430 annual allowance for health, learning, and leisure programmes;
- Up to 26 weeks of paid maternity leave for female employees;
- Two days of elder care leave per year for all employees;
- Free bus and train rides.
Go-Ahead Singapore told Channel NewsAsia that it has no current plans to adjust its terms, but will “monitor the market for the next one month”.
Fellow UK-based bus operator Tower Transit officially launched its services in May with the rollout of nine bus routes in the Jurong area.
news source: channelnewsasia.com