Rail and bus operator SBS Transit reported Monday its first quarter net profit increased 23.3 percent on-year, or by S$3.9 million, to S$20.67 million amid higher revenue from public transport services.
Revenue for the quarter ended 31 March rose 6.9 percent on-year, or by S$22.6 million, to S$350.76 million, SBS Transit said in a filing to SGX.
Public transport services posted a 6.8 percent on-year rise in revenue to S$334.4 million , mainly on higher bus mileage operated and higher ridership and average fares for rail services, the filing said.
The average daily ridership on the North-East Line rose by 3.2 percent on-year to 603,000 passenger trips, while Light Rail Transit passenger trips increased by 10.4 percent on-year to 141,000, SBS Transit said.
However, total operating costs increased 5.5 percent on-year to S$324.48 million, including higher staff and fuel and electricity costs, the transit company said.
Premises costs fell 16.5 percent on-year to S$12.31 million, while depreciation rose 6.1 percent on-year to S$25.62 million on changes to accounting rules, the filing said.
Revenue from other commercial services rose 9.6 percent on-year to S$16.3 million for the first quarter, mainly on higher advertising revenue, SBS Transit said.
In its outlook, SBS Transit pointed to expectations that bus and rail revenue would rise, and that operating costs would also increase.
For the bus segment, the company said service revenue was set to rise on the full-year contribution from the Seletar and Bukit Merah Bus Packages, which began operations in March and November of 2018. It added that the full-year operation of the bus packages would also increase overall operating costs.
Higher ridership and a 4.3 percent fare adjustment, effective in December 2018, are expected to boost rail revenue, it said.
“Notwithstanding this, the rail business will continue to face challenges from operating and maintenance costs. Repairs and maintenance costs are expected to rise with the NEL/SPLRT fleet in its mid-life cycle,” SBS Transit said.
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