SINGAPORE (Oct 12): Public transport operator ComfortDelGro has risen as much as 18% in the year-to-date, which compares with the Straits Times Index's 10.9% fall.

The surge in its share price has led UOB Kay Hian to label it "an exceptional defensive play" in an otherwise volatile market.

"In addition to the imminent bus restructuring, Singapore's ambition for a car-light society is expected to boost ridership growth," says UOB Kay Hian, maintaining its “buy” rating and target price of $3.30 a share.

ComfortDelGro is up 2.32% on Monday morning at $3.09.

Singapore's government is moving to a contracting model where the government owns trains and buses, rather than outsources the work and equipment to third parties.

"Against an uncertain external outlook and weak earnings visibility, we expect the [STI] to remain volatile. We believe ComfortDelGro's resilient fundamentals and diversified earnings are likely to provide refuge for investors," UOBKH says.