SINGAPORE’s Land Transport Authority announced on August 8 that it had selected existing metro operator Singapore MRT Ltd for a 10-year concession to run the city’s new medium-capacity Marina line. The agreement includes an option to extend the concession for up a further 30 years.

The SMRT bid was selected ahead of proposals from Trans-Island Bus Services and Singapore Bus Services, as part of LTA’s strategy of encouraging the development of multi-modal operators. SBS has already won the concession to operate the 20 km North East line to Punggol, which is due to open in 2002. The TIBS bid was backed by RATP of Paris.

The 5·4 km first phase of the Marina line between Dhoby Ghaut and Stadium Boulevard is expected to open in 2006. LTA has recently awarded contracts for construction and fitting out of the 5 km second phase, and further stages will see the line extended to create a 30 km orbital route by 2010.

SMRT has bid S$150m in paid-up equity for the 10-year concession; of this at least S$40m will be invested on the Marina line and the rest on the existing 85 km heavy metro network. LTA Deputy Chief Executive Low Tien Sio said that all three bids had been evaluated on their own merits, without considering the planned merger of SMRT and TIBS Holdings.