City Direct Bus Service 656

City Direct Service 656 is an AM/PM Peak City Direct service between Sembawang and the CBD, passing through Sembawang Drive, Bras Basah and Shenton Way. It is the sixth City Direct route introduced under the Bus Service Enhancement Programme (BSEP).

SMRT Buses Ltd took over operations of City Direct Service 656 on 17 Apr 2017 with changes in trip timings.


Blk 424A CP
Canberra Rd
Opp Blk 491
Admiralty Link
Blk 404A CP
Admiralty Link
Blk 405
Sembawang Dr
Blk 354 CP
Sembawang Dr
Sun Plaza
Sembawang Dr
Blk 317
Sembawang Dr
Blk 303
Sembawang Ave
Dhoby Ghaut Stn
Orchard Rd
Bras Basah Rd
Bras Basah Rd
Raffles Hotel
Bras Basah Rd
Opp War Memorial Pk
Nicoll Highway
OUE Bayfront
Collyer Quay
One Raffles Quay
Raffles Quay
UIC Bldg
Shenton Way
Opp MAS Bldg
Shenton Way
Mapletree Anson
Anson Rd
Aft Capital Twr
Robinson Rd
Robinson Rd
Raffles Pl Stn Exit F
Robinson Rd
Fullerton Sq
Fullerton Rd
Esplanade Bridge
Esplanade Dr
Capitol Bldg
Stamford Rd
Stamford Rd
Orchard Rd
Dhoby Ghaut Stn
Penang Rd
Opp Blk 303
Sembawang Ave
Blk 328
Sembawang Dr
Opp Sun Plaza
Sembawang Dr
Blk 357C
Sembawang Dr
Blk 478
Sembawang Dr
Blk 482A CP
Admiralty Link
Blk 491
Admiralty Link
Blk 508 CP
Canberra Rd
Technical Information
[AM]: Canberra Road (Blk 424A CP) → Shenton Way (Opp MAS Bldg)
[PM]: Anson Road (Mapletree Anson) → Canberra Road (Blk 508 CP)
Passes Through Admiralty Link, Sembawang Dr, Dhoby Ghaut
Route Length 29.4km (D1) | 29.6km (D2)
Traveling Time 77 mins (AM) | 81 mins (PM)
Operator Information
BCM Route Package City Direct Bus Services
Current Operator SMRT Buses Ltd
Current Depot Ang Mo Kio Bus Depot (AMDEP)
Current Fleet 12-metre Single Deck Bus
Departure Times from Canberra Rd
0720 – 0740 (Weekdays except Public Holidays), 3 Trips
Departure Times from Anson Rd
1810 – 1825 (Weekdays except Public Holidays), 2 Trips
Frequency AM Peak
PM Peak
10 mins 15 mins

City Direct Service 656 provides residents of Sembawang with greater connectivity to the CBD. Running parallel to existing rail lines, the service provides a travel alternative for commuters who relied on the rail network and feeder buses to and from work. The route incorporates an express sector between Sembawang Avenue and Dhoby Ghaut via SLE and CTE.

This is the sixth City Direct service to be introduced under the Bus Service Enhancement Programme (BSEP), providing more options for commuters using stretches of the existing rail lines that experience persistently high ridership, while the ongoing rail enhancement measures are being implemented.

From 10 March 2014, less than a month after introduction, an additional morning trip was added. Existing departure timings were revised. Yet another additional morning trip was added from 14 July 2014, bringing the total number of morning trips to the CBD to four. Following the takeover by SMRT Buses on 17 Apr 2017, morning trips were reduced to three.

Bus Schedule:

  • AM Peak from Canberra Rd: 0720hrs, 0730hrs, 0740hrs
  • PM Peak from Anson Rd: 1810hrs, 1825hrs

Fares: Charges regular distance-based express fares. Calculate your bus fare using LTA’s fare calculator on here.

Fleet: Service 656’s fleet comprises single-deck buses from SMRT Buses.


Poster Gallery:


Operator History:

  • 17 Feb 2014 – 14 Apr 2017: Loh Gim Chong Transport
  • 17 Apr 2017 onwards: SMRT Buses Ltd


  • 2014 (17 Feb): Introduced as a bidirectional AM/PM-Peak hour service from Sembawang to the CBD under the BSEP. Operates two trips on weekday mornings at 7:25am and 7:40am, and weekday evenings at 6:10pm and 6:25pm. Charges Distance-based flat fares.
  • 2014 (10 Mar): Third morning trip added, departure times from Sembawang revised to 7:20am, 7:30am and 7:40am.
  • 2014 (06 Apr): Revised fares as part of the Public Transport Fare Adjustment 2014
  • 2014 (14 Jul): Fourth morning trip added, departure times from Sembawang revised to 7:20am, 7:26am, 7:34am and 7:40am.
  • 2015 (23 Mar): Calls at new bus stop 03241 Anson Rd – Mapletree Anson instead of 03222 Anson Rd – Hub Synergy Point
  • 2016 (18 Jan): Operating contract for City Direct 656 by Loh Gim Chong Transport extended by one more year.
  • 2017 (17 Apr): Operations transferred to SMRT Buses Ltd with changes to AM Peak Trips. Departure times revised to 7:20am, 7:30am and 7:40am.
  • 2017 (20 Nov): Start of non-regular double-decker bus operations

External Links & References:

Back to Bus Services
Back to City Direct Services
Back to Bus Articles

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14 thoughts on “City Direct Bus Service 656

  • 15 July 2018 at 5:09 PM

    The express sector for this bus service is from Sembawang Road, turn left to Yishun Avenue 1, then turn right to Lentor Avenue to go on leftmost lane into SLE for morning peak and from SLE then exit at Lentor Avenue to go on leftmost lane to turn left to Yishun Avenue 1 to turn right into Sembawang Road.

  • 3 January 2018 at 6:42 PM

    The double decker bus service was only operational for 2 days. For once commuters thought the days of long hour standing has gone. For once, we thought our voices are heard. You can literally see the glee in all of their eyes upon boarding the DD bus.

    Why..why do you play with our feelings SMRT.. We want our DD bus back!


  • 16 November 2017 at 4:22 PM

    With the ever increasing MRT problems recently especially affecting NSL lines, SMRT should look into increasing the frequency of the existing bus services (BSEP) to the city centre.

    I am staying in Sembawang area and there is bus service 656 plying in our estate. But when checking the bus schedule, I learn that the service only starts at 7:20am onwards. May I request for the service to begin earlier to cater those offices starting earlier (in line with the government encouraging companies to stagger the peak working hours). My work starts at 8:00 am and I won’t be able to reach Raffles Place with your existing bus schedule, as it takes approx. 70 mins of travel time to reach town.

    Kindly take immediate action to rectify the existing flaws in bus / MRT services. SMRT need to step-up to deal with the current transport deficiency and have the foresight to plan and coordinate their services with the existing times. It is a shame that a “1st world nation and world class transport service” is in this dire dilemma.

    I sincerely hope to receive a favourable response to this request.

  • 13 September 2017 at 9:46 AM

    I urge everyone to crowd start a new route from Sembawang to CBD via Grab Shuttle.. you guys can download the app or do it online.. once enough passengers requested for it, they’ll create the route!

    You’ll be guaranteed a seat, comfortable one that is, and price wise it is affordable! Pass for 10 rides cost about $2.60+ per trip!!
    I’ve tried it for the return trip to Sembawang from CBD so i do know.. You’ll be in a 20+ seater mini bus.. Travelling time will definitely decrease..

    Please lets try this solution, especially for those who board the bus from Sun Plaza onwards.. An hour plus of standing each day is really a torture.. Do pass on the message! Say hello to your fellow commuters and tell them abt this!

    Im definitely not from grab..just a passenger that is desperate for a comfortable ride to work and hope not to be late for work anymore!!

  • 9 September 2017 at 7:56 PM

    I have been taking this bus for a while now. I agree with you guys about the disappointment. I’m so disappointed when SMRT taken over the service. Because I know that the comfortable seats will be gone. Not only that, they also decreased the frequency from 4 trips to 3 trips in the morning.

    Come Mon, the bus is almost full everyday and people are paying more to stand meh? Some more the timing of the buses also buey zhun. Seldom early but always late. Like that how?

    Please don’t take advantage of us leh. We must stand up to them and demand that either the frequency increases or they give us double Decker buses.

    Best way will be feedback straight to SMRT. If not I don’t think they will care about how we feel. I strongly urge everyone here to call and feedback to SMRT about this. 来来大家一起来 Let our voices be heard and pressure them to do something for us. Everybody let’s do it!

    If really cannot, then really let the professionals do the job. Buey hiao mai kay kiang.


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