Feeder, Townlink and Intratown routes are public bus services that ply between bus interchanges and various parts of housing estates. Such routes cater to the design of most residential towns in Singapore, where town centers with many facilities (such as shopping malls, town council offices, public libraries, hawker centers, MRT stations, etc) are usually accompanied with bus interchanges. These routes operate in a loop fashion between the bus interchange and various housing estates.
Feeder routes are an important part of Singapore’s hub-and-spoke transport system, which relies on the rail network as the main backbone and residential routes which connect MRT stations with various parts of a housing estate. Passengers can also transfer between feeder routes at the bus interchange to get to different parts of the estate. (Interchange ↺ Estate)
Townlink and Intratown routes are a combination of feeder routes that serve multiple parts of a housing estates. They operate similar to two feeder services, and return to the interchange before continuing on their second loop. (Interchange ↺ Estate A ↺ Estate B). The term “Townlink” is used by SBS Transit and “Intratown” is used by SMRT. An advantage of Townlink and Intratown services is that they allow for travel between Estate A and B without the need for transferring buses at the interchange. A disadvantage would be that delays usually cascade down the timetable and hence much more prone to bunching up compared to feeder routes. When drivers need to take a break after completing their second loop, it is necessary to indicate to passengers that the bus will not continue its trip after reaching the interchange. SBS Transit places a red “T” sign at the front of the bus, while SMRT adds the letter “E” to the end of the service number as displayed on the front EDS.
Go-Ahead Singapore also adopted the “Townlink” term by SBS Transit when they took over the Pasir Ris Townlink Services 358 & 359 back in September 2016. In 2017, Go-Ahead Singapore formatted their Electronic Destination Signage to reflect the “T” on the signs, instead of having to manually display the “T” plate.
In March 2018, as part of the Seletar Bus Package handover, SBS Transit renamed Bus Service 811 & 812 from its SMRT Buses “Intratown” naming to “Townlink”.
Although most major bus estates are served by feeder and townlink/intratown routes, the number of routes is not a solid indication of the demographics of that particular estate. For example, Hougang previously has only one feeder service (325) despite its large size before the Bus Service Enhancement Programme kicked in, as residential trunk routes like 112, 113 and other trunk routes help cover the remaining areas. Other estates have light rail transit (LRT) networks in addition to feeder services, reducing the need for duplicated feeder services.
Fares for feeder and townlink/intratown services follow the current distance-based fare scheme (DBF) but are capped at 3.2km.
Feeder and townlink/intratown services operate daily from early morning (around 5am) to after midnight, usually tied to the last train timing at connecting MRT stations. Frequencies are usually stable due to the short nature and predictable demand of such routes.