SMRT wins tender to operate Thomson-East Coast Line in Singapore


Rail operator SMRT Trains has secured a contract to operate the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) in Singapore for an initial nine-year period starting from 2019, at a total service fee of nearly S$1.7bn ($1.26bn).

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) originally launched the TEL operator tender in February and bids were submitted by operating companies SBS Transit and SMRT Trains.

LTA chief executive Ngien Hoon Ping said: “Both SMRT Trains and SBS Transit submitted good quality proposals befitting of our aspirations for the TEL.

“After much careful consideration, we have assessed that SMRT Trains will be able to offer a higher level of service, as it has committed to invest heavily in predictive maintenance and manpower training.”

The arrangement will see LTA pilot an Incentives-Disincentives (ID) framework, which directly ties the service fee received by the operator to its performance in the key areas of service.

"We have assessed that SMRT Trains will be able to offer a higher level of service, as it has committed to invest heavily in predictive maintenance and manpower training."

Accordingly, SMRT will be eligible to receive an incentive payment if the company delivers a greater-than-expected performance, as well as a service fee deduction if it fails to fulfil expectations.

SMRT’s performance will be evaluated through multiple reliability indicators, operational and maintenance audits and customer satisfaction surveys.

LTA also noted that a TEL non-fare business will be issued through a separate tender in the next year, which is set to include commercial spaces and advertising spaces at the stations, trains and associated infrastructure.

The 43km TEL will comprise 31 new stations, including seven interchange stations to connect to the five existing Mass Rapid Transit lines.

It is expected to improve connectivity between the north, central and eastern parts of Singapore upon becoming fully operational in 2024.