Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) has called tenders to appoint operators for JRL and CRL lines. The authority expects that the operator licences for both lines, or for only JRL, to be awarded by the end of 2024. “This would provide sufficient time for operators to ramp up their operations before the initial phases of these lines commence passenger service in 2027 and 2030 respectively,” LTA says. If only the JRL tender is awarded in this round, LTA will appoint the CRL operator at a later juncture.
The successful tenderers will be paid a service fee to operate and maintain the mass transit lines for the first licensing period of 9 years, with the possibility of a two-year extension. During the first licensing period of the JRL and CRL, the Government of Singapore will bear fare revenue risk under the same model as the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL), given the higher fare revenue and ridership uncertainty in the initial years of operation for such new lines.
Upon the expiry of the licence, LTA will review the model for subsequent rail operator licences, taking into consideration the viability and ridership of the lines.
LTA says that the tender will be limited to existing rail operators in Singapore the SMRT Trains and SBS Transit Rail. Foreign operators will be allowed to participate in the JRL and CRL operator tenders as minority partners of joint ventures with SMRT Trains or SBS Transit Rail. The calibrated participation of foreign operators will strengthen our domestic operators’ capabilities in operation and maintenance.
The tenders to appoint the operators for JRL and CRL lines will be called concurrently. Nonetheless, each bid for each line will be assessed on its own merits, including quality and price. This approach increases the value of the tender and encourages both bidders to submit more competitive bids by taking into account potential savings in the event both lines are operated by the same operator.
The 24 km elevated Jurong Region Line (JRL) with 24 stations, including three interchange stations, will open from 2027 onwards, in three stages improving connectivity in the western part of Singapore by establishing direct links to Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Jurong Industrial Estate, Jurong Innovation District, Pandan Reservoir and the future Tengah area. In mid-January, LTA has started the construction works for JRL.
The Cross Island Line (CRL) will connect major hubs that are under development in the eastern, western, and north-eastern parts of Singapore such as Jurong Lake District, Punggol Digital District and Changi region. The CRL will be Singapore’s longest fully underground line with a total length of more than 50 km. The line will be also constructed in three phases with the first 29 km section expected to become operational in 2030. The construction for the first phase of CRL was also launched in mid-January.