This article provides a background for SMRT’s night bus services. For a travel guide to NightRider services, click here.
For SBS Transit’s Nite Owl Services (1N, 2N, 3N, 4N, 5N & 6N), click here.
NightRider bus services were SMRT’s overnight bus routes, which operated after midnight on Fridays, Saturdays and eves of Public Holidays. These services provide bus connections between the City and major housing estates during the after-hours, when normal bus services and the MRT do not operate.
The first NightRider service was NightRider NR1, which was introduced on 10 March 2000 by Trans-Island Bus Services (TIBS), the predecessor of SMRT Buses. Running from Marina Center to Yishun New Town, it was converted to a bidirectional service shortly after introduction, operating as Yishun – Marina Center (Loop).
The success of its first overnight route led TIBS to introduce many more overnight routes, many of which had insufficient demand to sustain operations and subsequently withdrawn or had deleted sectors taken over by other NR services. As of 2020, there were 6 NightRider routes left.
|NightRider NR1||Resorts World Sentosa → Toa Payoh / Ang Mo Kio / Yishun
Introduced 10th Mar 2000, originally from Marina Ctr Ter
|NightRider NR2||Marina Center Ter → Woodlands / Sembawang
Introduced 26th May 2000, originally looping at Woodlands
|NightRider NR3||Boat Quay → Choa Chu Kang Int
Introduced 26th May 2000, originally from Marina Ctr Ter
|NightRider NR5||Marina Center Ter → Jurong East / Jurong West
Introduced 26th May 2000, originally from Scotts Road, then extended to St Michael’s Ter, then cut back to Marina Ctr Ter
|NightRider NR6||Resorts World Sentosa → Serangoon / Hougang / Sengkang
Introduced 26th May 2000, originally from Marina Ctr Ter
|NightRider NR8||Marina Center Ter → Bukit Batok / Bukit Gombak
Introduced 26th May 2000, originally Bedok – Bukit Batok, removed sectors covered by NR7
After the merger of SMRT NightBus and TIBS NightRider, services NR1, NR5 and NR7 were converted to operate daily, with weeknight operations running unidirectional and terminating in the estates, using minibuses from BusPlus. Weeknight trips have been withdrawn due to low demand. The largely unsuccessful inter-town overnight routes meant that such routes are unlikely to make a comeback.
All remaining NightRider routes were withdrawn alongside Nite Owl routes on 30 June 2022.
Trans-Island Bus Services (TIBS) introduced NightRider NR1 on 10 Mar 2000, as a new initiative to cater to the social and recreational needs of people in the new millennium. It was the first overnight bus route in Singapore, providing a transport alternative for those who stay out late and would otherwise rely on taxis as their only mode of transport home. NR1 operated on Fridays, Saturdays & Eves of Public Holidays from 11:30 pm to 3:10 am, charging a flat fare of $3.00 and operating for a trial period of 3 months.
With the success of NR1, eight more NightRider services were launched on 26 May 2000, providing an islandwide overnight bus network for greater connectivity. Six new ‘trunk’ NR services (NR2, NR3, NR5, NR6, NR7, NR8) and two new ‘feeder’ NR services SS1 and SS2 were introduced, bringing the total to nine services. At the same time, the last bus departure times were extended to 4:30 am, which coincided with the first feeder buses departing from the estates. The free transfer was simultaneously initiated, enabling passengers paying by magnetic farecard to enjoy a free transfer from one NR service to another within 1 hour and 50 minutes. SS1 & SS2 were later withdrawn.
Another milestone for NightRider took place on 20 Oct 2000 when all NR services were converted into bidirectional operation (except NR8 which was bidirectional at introduction). At the same time, NR3 was extended to Choa Chu Kang North, and NR5 was extended to Jurong West.
The Year 2001 saw an explosion of new NR services and their subsequent withdrawal due to low demand. NR9, NR11, NR12 & NR13 were introduced on 9th March 2001, followed by NR15, NR17 & NR21 on 11th May 2001, NR10, NR16, NR18, NR19, NR20 & NR22 on 13th July 2001. All of these services (NR9 – NR22) were withdrawn on 3rd Dec 2001 due to low ridership. Detailed routings can be found here.
Another NR reshuffling occurred on 19 Aug 2004 when NR1, NR5 and NR7 were merged with SN10, SN20 and SN30 to provide weeknight unidirectional service from City to estates (Note that SN-services were an initiative previously introduced by rail operator SMRT, using subcontracted private buses). NR8 was shortened from Bedok – Bukit Batok to Marina Centre – Bukit Batok, with deleted sectors replaced by an amended NR7. The weeknight services were subsequently withdrawn on 23 May 2004, again due to low demand.
On 29th Jan 2010, NR1 and NR6 were extended to start from Resorts World Sentosa, serving HarbourFront and Marina Bay Sands before rejoining their original route at Raffles Ave.
Another major change to NightRider operations came into effect from 30th April 2014, when all surviving NightRider routes (NR1-3, 5-8) were converted to unidirectional operation from City to Estates due to low ridership. Last bus timings were brought forward from 4:00 am or later to 2:00 am.
From 4 January 2019 to 15 June 2019, NightRider NR7 was suspended in lieu of the On-Demand Public Bus (Night Bus – CBD to Bedok / Tampines) trial. After the trial, NightRider NR7 was discontinued.
Night Bus Services were suspended at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic from 8 April 2020, and further suspended till further notice when Singapore exited the Circuit Breaker period on 1 June 2020. NightRider services were formally withdrawn on 30 June 2022.
All regular NightRider services operate from 11:30 pm to 2:00 am on Fridays, Saturdays and eves of Public Holidays, with a frequency of 20 mins (NR1 only) or 30 mins (NR2, NR3, NR5, NR6 & NR8). During special occasions like Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve, more trips and high-capacity bendy buses may be added to supplement high demand during special occasions.
NightRider services started off with a $3.00 flat fare-paying by farecard, later implementing a $3.50 fare by cash payment. On 16 May 2008, fares were increased to $3.50, then to $4.50 from 11 November 2011.
Prior to withdrawal, the fare for NightRider services is $4.50 per trip regardless of payment by cash or EZ-link card. NightRider commuters who pay by EZ-link card will enjoy a free transfer to another NightRider service within a stipulated time window of 45mins. This is not applicable when transferring from an ordinary service to a NightRider service. Concessionary travel is not applicable.
External Links & References:
- TransitLink Guide 2001–