2019 Year in Review

Yet another exciting year for the Public Transport scene! Land Transport Guru takes a look at developments in both buses and trains for the year in this annual review article.

The Ministry of Transport’s (MOT) Committee of Supply (COS) Debate 2019 was held on 7 March 2019, unveiling future plans for the public transport network. Following the recommendations made by the advisory panel, the Land Transport Master Plan (LTMP) 2040 was announced on 25 May 2019 with a key goal of achieving 20-minute towns and a 45-minute city for all by 2040.

Transiting from traditional EZ-Link Cards, SimplyGo has changed the way commuters pay for public transport since April 2019. All contactless MasterCard and Visa bank cards can be used to pay for public transport, removing the need to carry a separate travel card or make any upfront top-ups before travelling. Commuters are also able to do so through mobile payment options on NFC-enabled phones!

Singapore held the 26th ITS World Congress 2019, showcasing intelligent transport system technologies from all around the world, including several autonomous buses. The event was held at Suntec Singapore & The Float @ Marina Bay from 21 – 25 October 2019.

Autonomous buses were also publicly trialled for the first time in Singapore. 2 Navya Autonom and 2 ST Autobus were launched on an On-demand Autonomous Shuttle Public Trial at Sentosa from 26 August 2019 to 15 November 2019. The NUSmart Shuttle Autonomous Bus Trial was also launched in July 2019 using an  EasyMile EZ10.

On-Demand Public Buses (ODPB) were trialled by LTA between December 2018 and June 2019. These services operated in the Marina – Downtown & Joo Koon area during weekday off peak hours, and a Night Bus version (CBD to Bedok / Tampines) during late night hours on Fridays, Saturdays & Public Holidays.

Commuters were able to book the ODPB within designated areas using apps developed for the trial, and paid a flat fare for these services.

Unfortunately, ODPB services have been discontinued since the trial ended on 16 June 2019.Bus Service 402 was merged with Bus Service 400 and Night Rider Service NR7 was permanently discontinued.

Stroller Restraint Systems have been gradually rolled out onto public buses since July 2019. All wheelchair-accessible public buses would be retrofitted with stroller restraint systems by 2020.

A six-month Assistive Technology trial was conducted in January 2019, with the aim of helping bus commuters with special needs. Titled MAVIS, short for Mobility Assistance for the Visually Impaired and Special users3 buses on Services 139 and 141 were equipped with additional features to assess the benefits and feasibility of providing such assistive technologies on more public bus services.

The Lush Green SG♥BUS livery is getting increasingly omnipresent on Singapore’s roads. Older buses are being gradually phased out, while all newly procured buses sport the green livery. Existing buses are also being repainted, with SBS Transit’s Volvo B9TL CDGE buses being fully repainted this year. Repainting of SBS Transit’s MAN A24 buses, formerly in SMRT colours, is also nearing completion.

BYD C6 electric minibuses were launched on Bus Service 825 in October 2019, making all public bus services in Singapore wheelchair-accessible.

The first electric public buses (12m) have also arrived in Singapore this year. 3 single-deck bus model and 1 double-decker bus model will be gradually launched on revenue service in 2020. All public buses will use cleaner energy sources by 2040 to contribute to a cleaner environment.

Volvo B5LH buses, which were initially launched in December 2018, were rolled out to 3 other bus services in January and February 2019 as well.

More Euro 6 MAN A22 and A95 buses were delivered and registered this year. While most buses were leased to SBS Transit and SMRT Buses, Go-Ahead Singapore took in 9 additional MAN buses. Full functionality of the Passenger Information Display System have also been restored in April 2019.

Meanwhile, 100 three-door Double-Decker Buses were procured by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) in April 2019. Alexander Dennis (Singapore) Services Pte Ltd and ST Engineering Land Systems Ltd will supply 50 three-door buses each.

We bid farewell to SMRT Buses’ Mercedes-Benz O405G Volgren Bendy Buses, which operated to their very last day, 4th July 2019, on SMRT Bus Service 903. SBS Transit’s Volvo B10BLE CNG buses were retired early on 26 July 2019, marking the end of buses using only acrylic destination and number plates.

As Singapore gears towards a 100% Wheelchair-Accessible Bus Fleet by 2020,  the Volvo B10TL and Mercedes-Benz O405G (Hispano Habit) may retire at the end of this year. We launched the Non-Wheelchair Accessible Bus Finder in August 2019 to help finding such buses easier!

New Bus Services

973A 974A 117A 163A 137A 169B 883B 33B 117B 913M
34B 85A 116A 901M 382A 43e 976 68A 68B

Renumbered Bus Services

Discontinued Bus Services

163M 669 402 NR7 BPS1


New Bus Interchanges

Singapore’s tenth Integrated Transport Hub (ITH), Yishun ITH opened on Sunday, 8 September 2019, taking over operations from Yishun Temporary Bus Interchange.

Yio Chu Kang Bus Interchange expansion opened in phases starting from 13 October 2019.

Changes to City Direct Services

City Direct Bus Services were gradually transferred to Public Transport Operators, or ceased operations, continuing the pattern from the previous year.

Month City Direct
January 2019 660 Transferred to SBS Transit
661 Transferred to Go-Ahead Singapore
June 2019 669 Discontinued
July 2019 654 Transferred to SBS Transit


Continued on the next page…

3 thoughts on “2019 Year in Review

  • 29 December 2019 at 3:41 PM

    SBS Transit A22 and A24 as well as SMRT OC500LE fully repainted too.

    • 29 December 2019 at 3:43 PM

      Also SBST has started repainting some Citaros and Volvo Wrights this year.

  • 18 December 2019 at 1:50 AM

    OC also done refurb & repainting as well


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