SBS Transit’s Jeffrey Sim awarded Executive of the Year in Transportation at SBR Management Excellence Awards 2023

Since taking over the helm as Group CEO in January 2023, Jeffrey has been steering SBS Transit into its next phase of transformative growth and setting new benchmarks for the public transportation industry.

No stranger to the industry, Jeffrey spent his first seven years in SBS Transit with the rail division. He was careful in understanding how things were done before exploring and astutely implementing new ways to boost train service reliability to enhance the passenger travel experience. As a result, under his watch, train service reliability improved by leaps and bounds. Today, the two MRT lines operated by SBS Transit - the North East Line and the Downtown Line - are the top two most reliable lines in the Singapore network, and the Downtown Line reputed as the most reliable MRT line globally for the past two years!

Fuelled by an unrelenting quest in wanting to improve constantly, Jeffrey recognised early on that the Company could achieve more by leveraging the strengths and experience of others who are like-minded. For this reason, he continues to take a direct interest in driving innovation and fostering collaboration in spite of his busy schedule. For instance, its partnership with Portuguese Stratio, a leading predictive maintenance technology company, enables SBS Transit’s technicians to anticipate faults and undertake predictive maintenance to minimise bus breakdowns on the road.  This has set a new maintenance benchmark for the local public bus industry as it results in better service reliability and elevates the passenger travel experience.  To further boost capabilities, both parties will be working on refining the condition monitoring features for electric buses to be more suited for Singapore’s local conditions.  

Focussed also on driving sustainability in its operations, Jeffrey guided the team to collaborate with German’s Siemens Mobility in piloting a software based on AI to predict passenger demand for train services. This will mean modifying train timetables which can potentially save up to 3,000 MWh of electricity annually! Notably, this solution will be the first of its kind to be implemented in the Asia Pacific. 

More recently, he signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Enterprise Singapore to establish a Mobility Innovation Centre known as MINNOVA to serve as a hub for learning, networking and collaboration amongst government agencies, industry experts, academia, SMEs, start-ups, and other key stakeholders. More importantly, MINNOVA will drive the co-creation of innovative mobility solutions that will address challenges faced by the transport sector in Singapore and abroad.

A strong advocate of public transport, Jeffrey believes that the local transport network should be inclusive and accessible to all, including persons with disabilities (PWDs). Under his leadership, more strategic initiatives have been introduced under the SBS Transit’s signature “Travel with Confidence” programme. These include the wayfinding audio app, orientation tours, and the CARES Community Bus in addition to the “Travel Buddy” and “Find Your Way” programmes, to assist diverse disability groups such as those on wheelchairs, the visually impaired, and even those living with dementia to navigate the public transport network safely and independently. 
Recognising that a successful team is made up of a group of many hands and guided by one mind, Jeffrey makes it a priority to engage and develop its workforce of 10,000 employees, which includes Bus Captains, technicians, station staff as well as those in operations and support roles. Proactively fostering a culture of continuous learning, the Company encourages staff to upgrade their competency through training opportunities in collaboration with institutions such as the National University of Singapore, Singapore Institute of Technology, Technical University of Munich Asia, and NTUC LearningHub, besides regular training courses conducted in-house.  Progressive in outlook, he also invests in programmes to look after the physical and mental well-being of his employees. As an equal opportunity employer, Jeffrey also opens doors to hiring PWDs, recognising that they can play meaningful roles to contribute to the Company. He aims to hire some 100 PWDs within the next five years – a two-fold increase from its current 30.

With SBS Transit as the biggest public bus company and the leader in train service reliability, Jeffrey is committed to raising standards in the industry by leveraging the Company’s scale, experience and capabilities to better serve passenger needs. Seeking out meaningful opportunities to contribute, he sits on the Board of the Land Transport Authority’s Singapore Rail Academy and is a member of the Transportation Standards Committee which develops and maintains relevant standards for the local transportation industry. Serving as an Industry Advisory Committee member of the Singapore Institute of Technology’s Engineering Systems Programme, he is also the Chief Expert of Rapid Transit Systems for World Skills Singapore. In the region, he chairs the Urban Rail Committee set up by UITP Asia-Pacific which brings together public transport authorities and operators, policy decision-makers and research institutes amongst others. 

Jeffrey's forward-thinking ethos and ability to identify opportunities where others see obstacles make him an outstanding corporate trailblazer. As Transport Executive of the Year, he motivates his team to push boundaries and drive growth and innovation to empower SBS Transit to make every journey a delight for passengers. 

The SBR Management Excellence Awards is presented by Singapore Business Review Magazine. To view the full list of winners, click here. If you want to join the 2024 awards programme and be acclaimed for your company's employee engagements and management initiatives, please contact Julie Anne Nuñez at [email protected].

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