SINGAPORE: Land Transport Authority has selected SBS Transit to operate the 42 km Downtown metro line which is scheduled to open in three stages in 2013, 2015 and 2017. This is the first contract to be awarded under a revised financing framework which LTA adopted in 2010.

The contract announced on August 29 will run for 19 years rather than 30 to 40 years as previously planned. LTA said the prospect of competition at the end of the operator's term will drive efficiency and service improvements, as well as allowing LTA to take into account changes to the operating and business environment.

LTA will own the assets and be responsible for replacement and enhancement, including the procurement of additional trains. The operator will pay an annual fee for the right to operate the line, with the money paid into an asset replacement fund which is expected to total S$1·6bn at the end of the 19-year term. The government will continue to fund the inflationary cost of asset replacement.

SMRT Trains had also bid for the contract to operate the line, which is predicted to have a daily ridership of 500 000 from 2017, increasing to more than 700 000.

  • LTA has awarded the final three civil works contracts for the 21 km Phase 3 of the Downtown Line. Samsung C&T is to build Upper Changi station for S$257m, Penta-Ocean Construction will build Bendemeer station for S$215m, and Shanghai Tunnel Engineering Co will construct tunnels between Tampines East and Upper Changi for S$91m.