SINGAPORE’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) has launched tenders to appoint operators for the under-construction Jurong Region Line (JRL) and Cross Island Line (CRL).

The JRL will support the growth of the Jurong area while the 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 winning bidders will be paid a service fee to operate and maintain the JRL and CRL for nine years, with the possibility of a two-year extension. The government will initially 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 expiry of the contract, LTA will review the model for subsequent rail operator licences, taking into consideration the viability and ridership of the lines.

The tenders will be limited to the existing operators in Singapore, SMRT Trains and SBS Transit Rail. International operators will be allowed to participate as minority partners of joint ventures with either operator, which LTA says will strengthen the domestic operators’ capabilities in operation and maintenance.

The tenders for both lines will be called concurrently, but each bid will be assessed on its own merits, including quality and price. LTA says 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.

Subject to the assessment of bids, LTA may award the contract for both lines, or for only JRL, by the end of 2024. This would provide sufficient time for the winning parties to ramp up their activities before the start of operation on initial phases of the lines in 2027 and 2030 respectively.

If only the JRL contract is awarded, LTA will appoint the CRL operator at a later date.

Originally announced as part of the government’s 2013 Land Transport Master Plan, the full 24-station JRL is slated for completion in 2028, and will include three interchanges at Jurong East, Choa Chu Kang and Boon Lay stations. The JRL is planned for completion in three phases:

  • Phase 1, Choa Chu Kang - Tawas in 2026
  • Phase 2, Tengah Plantation - Pandan Reservoir in 2027, and
  • Phase 3, Enterprise - Peng Kang Hill in 2028.

At 50km, the CRL will be Singapore’s longest fully integrated line when completed in 2032.

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