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Letter to Singapore American School Parents on the Current School Bus Landscape

4 February 2023


Dear Parents,

I’m reaching out at this time to address some of the issues several of you have raised and to offer an overview of the current bus landscape in Singapore and more importantly, what this means for your family.

Our goal remains to provide safe, consistent and reliable school bus service to each student and family who trust us with their ride to and from school. I am grateful for your support and appreciate your patience and understanding as the entire school bus and transportation industry faces significant supply-side challenges.

You may have read an article about my company recently as I decided to voluntarily withdraw from a local school contract when I felt I could not offer the level of safe and reliable service that I would like due to supply-side constraints. I acknowledge the industry disruption has negatively impacted the service Yeap Transport aims to provide your family, and I want to keep you informed on the steps we are taking to address these major challenges.

Supply-side challenges

As a member of the Singapore School Transport Association (SSTA), my peers and I were astounded by the acute contraction in supply that went beyond our forecast. I reflected with them and one common agreement is the return to normalcy post-Covid became the tipping point that caused many remaining school bus operators to switch industries, causing a drastic supply disruption in our local transport industry.

We noted that at least 30% of the school and private bus transport drivers had quit or switched industries for a variety of reasons when Covid-19 disrupted demand in the past years. Some of the major contributing factors to the contraction of school bus supply include:

a. Premature scrapping of bus fleet to exit the industry

b. Retirement of older bus drivers due to the disruption of livelihood

c. Enticement from other industries, specifically ride-hailing service platforms, tourism, airport services (better remunerations), etc

d. Rising costs of operations e.g. high diesel costs, high COE for buses, challenges in recruiting Singaporean bus drivers and bus attendants etc

As of 1 January 2023, we have lost over 30 bus operators due to the above factors. The number of bus operators exiting the school bus sector is expected to increase when Singapore's tourism industry picks up momentum. All the above translate to a dire outlook for the supply of school bus services. Economically, the supply disruption will cause inflationary pressure on transport prices. Socially, the lack of buses to transport children to and from school will disrupt parents’ routines.


To add to the supply disruptions, rising residential rents have led to an extraordinary number of families choosing to move house at the end of leases causing a ripple effect through the routes which create more issues that cannot easily be solved without access to additional buses.


Addressing this issue

Yeap Transport provides daily commuting services for 2840 SAS students, using 220 bus routes to and from school daily. My company is currently experiencing difficulties similar to our peers due to supply-side challenges. Currently, we are unable to address the needs of all families due to a shortage of 14 bus drivers, this accounts for 6.4% of our total routes.

We are doing our best to address these challenges by increasing our pool of drivers and expanding our fleet of buses. This involves offering competitive compensation packages , working with key Singapore government agencies to secure work permits for additional drivers, and partnering with a private company, Lumens, to provide transportation for students without access to a bus. While these initiatives result in additional costs to my company, I hope that it will alleviate some of the transport challenges for parents while I work to increase our bus capacity. Finally, do note that many of Yeap’s own fleet continue to serve as backup vehicles to take over bus routes when a bus or any of the bus crew is unable to operate during the school day.


What can you expect?

Going forward, I will be updating you weekly. These messages will be brief reports regarding the previous week’s key performance indicators as noted below:

• Increase or decrease in shortage of school bus routes

• Percentage of bus routes negatively impacted due to late bus arrivals

• Increase or decrease in riders using Lumens(Temporary Private Hire Car) services

We completely understand if you need to seek alternative transportation arrangements while we navigate these challenging circumstances. For the next three months, we will waive any notice periods, and you are free to withdraw at any time. Any unused portion of your payment will be fully refunded.

On days that a bus is unable to serve your route, we will continue to notify you as soon as possible via text message, and reimburse your Grab or taxi expenses to ensure your child reaches school safely and in a timely manner. We are committed to providing safe and reliable transportation for all students. You can reach us at sas@yeaptpt.com or call us at 6360 6770 for your reimbursements or any other bussing-related concerns.


Thank you for your continued support, and I look forward to keeping in touch with you.

Adrian Yeap

CEO



Annex - Related Articles


Parents say they have little choice but to rely on school buses_The Straits Times


Page 1 - Private sch bus operators face shortage of drivers & higher costs


Page 2 - Private sch bus operators face shortage of drivers & higher costs








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