Tower Transit Pulls Out the Stops to Woo Drivers

With its entry shaking up the public transport sector, new foreign bus operator Tower Transit announced yesterday (12 Nov) that Singaporean bus captains will get a basic of up to $1,865 a month, and up to $3,000 a month if they work 10 hours overtime per week. A master bus captain will get a basic pay of $3,000 before overtime.

This basic pay is 5 to 15 per cent higher than that offered by SBS Transit and SMRT, although Tower's total monthly package is similar to SBS Transit's. SMRT declined to reveal its employment contract, but an earlier report listed its basic pay as $1,625.

Tower Transit’s female drivers will get up to 6.5 months of paid maternity leave, while male drivers will get up to two weeks of paternity leave. Drivers receive flexible benefit credits of up to $700 a year, which can cover health, educational, and child care fees. Performance-based incentives will be given out, and sponsorship for Workforce Skills Qualifications courses will also be offered. In line with its London operations, drivers will not need to handle refuelling, washing and parking of buses to ensure they can solely focus on driving.

“We’re in a position to … come up with a compelling and competitive proposition for bus drivers to steer the bus industry forward,” said Tower Transit CEO Adam Leishman. Annual increments will be pegged to the Ministry of Manpower’s wage index to ensure no one falls behind with rising costs of living. 

Tower Transit’s takeover of 26 bus routes from SBS Transit and SMRT will affect almost 500 workers. Under tripartite guidelines, they have to be offered a job by Tower on terms not worse than their current employment. Tower said it has seen interest from nearly 400 prospective staff. It aims to have about 750 bus drivers by mid-2016, and Leishman said early recruitment efforts will focus on “developing a Singapore core”.

Do you think Tower Transit’s employment terms will attract more Singaporeans to consider being bus captains? Share your thoughts with us!

Sources: “Tower Transit pulls out stops in push to woo drivers” (Today, 12 Nov 2015); 
“New bus operator Tower Transit offers higher starting wage, longer maternity leave” (The Straits Times, 13 Nov 2015)

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