SINGAPORE (Nov 12): SBS Transit announced that its 3Q19 earnings have slightly increased by 1.5% to $20.0 million from $19.7 million in 3Q18.

This brings 9M19 earnings to $64.9 million, 16.0% higher than $55.9 million in 9M18.

Revenue during the quarter came in at $364.0 million, 3.6% higher than $351.4 million in the same period a year ago, with the group’s pubic transport services and other commercial services reporting higher contribution.

Revenue from public transport services of $348.0 million for 3Q19 was higher by 3.0% y-o-y, due mainly to higher average fare arising from the fare increase effective Dec 29, 2018, and higher ridership from rail services, higher bus service fees and higher other operating income.

Compared to the same period last year, Downtown Line (DTL) in 3Q19 saw a 7.8% or 5.2 cents increase in average fare, while average daily ridership grew by 4.1% to 491,000 passenger trips.

As for the North-East Line (NEL), average fare in 3Q19 was higher y-o-y by 2.6% or 1.8 cents and that for Light Rail Transit (LRT) by 4.2% or 1.8 cents compared to that of 3Q18. Average daily ridership for NEL grew by 1.2% to 615,000 passenger trips and that for the LRT by 6.1% to 144,000 passenger trips.

Meanwhile, the group’s other commercial services saw revenue increase by 19.3% y-o-y to $13.4 million, due mainly to higher advertising revenue.

Total operating costs also increased by 3.4% to $338.6 million, compared to $327.4 million in the previous year, due to higher repairs and maintenance costs, depreciation expenses and other operating costs.

As at Sept 30, the group’s cash and bank balances stood at $7.9 million.

On the outlook, the group expects revenue from its public transport services to be higher, as revenue from the bus and rail services are expected to be higher.

However, other commercial services is expected to be maintained.

Nonetheless, the group continues to face significant cost pressures. Overall operating costs will increase with full year impact of the Seletar and Bukit Merah Bus Packages and increased maintenance requirements for NEL, Sengkang/Punggol LRT (SPLRT) and DTL.

The fare adjustment of 7% approved by the Public Transport Council will take effect from Dec 28.

Looking forward, the group says that it will also continue to invest in predictive maintenance capabilities so as to keep up with reliability standards in a sustainable manner.

Shares in SBS closed at $4.05 on Tuesday.