SMRT Bus Service 972 is a trunk service operating from Bukit Panjang Bus Interchange and looping at Orchard Road, passing through Jelapang, Segar, Fajar, Bangkit and Stevens Road. The route is a key link between Bukit Panjang estate and the City areas, plying express along the BKE and PIE between Bukit Panjang and Whitley Road. The route was launched on 17 November 2013 as the 15th bus service to be introduced under the Bus Service Enhancement Programme (BSEP).
|Route||Bukit Panjang Bus Interchange ↺ Orchard Road (Loop)|
|Passes Through||Senja Rd, Jelapang Rd, Segar Rd, Fajar Rd, BKE/PIE, Stevens Rd, Orchard, Dhoby Ghaut|
|Route Length||39.9 km|
|Travelling Time||125 mins|
|BCM Route Package||Choa Chu Kang–Bukit Panjang Bus Package|
|Current Operator||SMRT Buses Ltd|
|Current Depot||Kranji Bus Depot (KJDEP)
Majority of buses park at: Ulu Pandan Bus Depot (UPDEP)
|Current Fleet||12-metre Double Deck Bus:
– Alexander Dennis Enviro500
– Volvo B9TL
|Departure Times from Bt Panjang
||Weekdays & Saturdays||Sundays / Public Holidays|
|05:30 – 23:35||05:30 – 23:35|
|After 23:05 Daily, buses departing from Bt Panjang Int operates as Service 972A|
|Loop Service||4 – 8 mins||16 – 20 mins||6 – 12 mins||12 – 19 mins|
|Fare||Charges regular distance fares
Service 972 is a popular trunk route for residents of Bukit Panjang, bringing about greater connectivity to the Stevens, Orchard and Dhoby Ghaut areas in the City. Launched on 17 November 2013 as the fifteenth bus service under the Bus Service Enhancement Programme (BSEP), the route incorporates an express sector between Bukit Panjang Road and Whitley Road via the Bukit Timah Expressway (BKE) and the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE). The route shares very similar catchment areas with Express 971E (renumbered to Service 971 from 31 Aug 2020) which only operates during weekday peak hours.
By offering a direct, full-day bus route between the northern parts of Bukit Panjang estate (Neighborhoods 4, 5 and 6) and the Orchard Road shopping belt, the route provides a travel alternative for commuters who previously relied on other bus routes to and from the City, such as Service 190, 960 & 700/700A (prior to its withdrawal). It also opened up new links within the Bukit Panjang estate, plying a combination of the route of both Feeders 920 and 922, and connecting the inner estates directly to the popular transfer hubs of Blk 183 / Blk 604 (prior to the opening of Bukit Panjang Int) and Blk 223 / Blk 270 along Bukit Panjang Road for convenient transfers to many other bus services.
As a result of its popularity with residents, demand for the route is very high throughout most of the day. SMRT’s very first double-decker buses were launched Bus Service 972 on 13 July 2014 with three Alexander Dennis Enviro500 buses, which grew to a full fleet of over 20 double-deck buses by January 2015, making it SMRT’s first ever full-double-deck bus service. On 14 June 2015, the route was amended into Senja Road and Senja Link to increase its catchment area within the estate.
Additional special departures were added on Weekday mornings from 03 Apr 2017, starting from Opp Bangkit Stn to Bukit Panjang. Previously, with no mid-route departures, the first bus towards Bukit Panjang would arrive past 7am after looping at the City.
Following the controversy over Bus 700 withdrawal and Bus 171 & 972 amendment in August 2020, route variant Service 972M was introduced to ply the originally planned amended route of Service 972 via Newton MRT.
MRT / LRT Stations Served:
- DT1–BP6 Bukit Panjang
- BP13 Senja
- BP10 Fajar
- BP9 Bangkit
- DT10 Stevens
- NS22 Orchard
- NS23 Somerset
- NS24NE6CC1 Dhoby Ghaut
- Bukit Panjang Ring Rd (Opp Bangkit Stn) → Bukit Panjang Int
Weekdays: 06:35 & 06:50
Short Trip Service:
- Service 972A: Bukit Panjang Int → Orchard Road (Dhoby Ghaut Stn)
Weekdays: 23:18 – 23:35
Saturdays: 23:20 – 23:35
Sundays / Public Holidays: 23:01 – 23:35
- Service 972M: Bukit Panjang Int ↺ Orchard Road (Loop)
Daily, via Newton MRT
- 2013 – Present: SMRT Buses Ltd
The Bus Service Operating License (BSOL) for this route will be renewed in 2023 under the Choa Chu Kang – Bukit Panjang Bus Package.
- 2013 (17 Nov): Introduced from Bukit Panjang to Bencoolen Street (Loop), via Jelapang, Segar , Fajar, BKE/PIE, Stevens, Orchard and Dhoby Ghaut under the Bus Service Enhancement Programme (BSEP).
- 2014 (02 Mar): Designated wheelchair-accessible bus route (WAB)
- 2014 (13 Jul): Double-deck buses introduced
- 2015 (End Jan): First SMRT bus service to have a full double-deck bus fleet.
- 2015 (14 Jun): Amended to Senja Road / Link, skipping a pair of bus stops along Bt Panjang Ring Rd and calling at 4 pairs of bus stops along Senja Rd & Link
- 2015 (12 Jul): First bus brought forward from 06:00 to 05:30 daily
- 2015 (16 Aug): Serves 2 new bus stops between Blks 443A and 443B and outside Blk 442D along Fajar Rd
- 2015 (06 Sep): Serves new pair of bus stops outside and opposite Blk 635C along Senja Rd; Serves new pair of bus stops outside Blk 548B and outside Blk 547C along Segar Rd
- 2015 (27 Dec): Calls at Opp Blk 183 instead of Blk 604 along Bt Panjang Rd towards Bencoolen St as part of DTL2 Bukit Panjang Bus Service Enhancements
- 2016 (11 Dec): Skips a bus stop along Bencoolen Street due to permanent bus stop closure
- 2017 (03 Apr): Additional special departures from Opp Bangkit Stn to Bukit Panjang on Weekday Mornings.
- 2017 (04 Sep): Amended to Bukit Panjang ITH
- 2020 (03 Aug): Announced to be amended to ply Bt Timah Rd / Dunearn Rd and Scotts Rd, skipping Stevens Rd from 16 Aug 2020
- 2020 (13 Aug): Planned route amendment on 16 Aug 2020 announced to be cancelled.
The service debuted on Sunday, 17 November 2013, where a soft launch was carried out at Greenridge Shopping Center at 8:30am, hosted together with a community brisk walk. SMB3088M was the first bus deployed, departing Bukit Panjang at 6am. The service utilized a full fleet of MAN A22 buses.
SMRT Enviro500 MMC Launch:
SMRT’s Alexander Dennis Enviro500 made their debut on revenue service on Sunday, 13 Jul 2014 on Service 972. Three units, namely SMB3501L (972TQ01) , SMB3502J (972AP07) and SMB3503G (972TQ02) were put on service. SMB3502J was withdrawn in the morning following an electrical fault leading to bus breakdown, but returned in the afternoon.
SMB3502J is the first Enviro500 MMC in revenue service, departing Bukit Panjng Temporary Bus Park at around 7:00am in the morning.