Express Bus Services

Express Bus Services are bus services that contain express sectors, by skipping bus stops or travelling by expressways, saving commuting time as compared to regular trunk services. These services charge Express fares as they provide added convenience and travel time savings.

Service Operating Times Route
10e Weekday Morning & Evening Peak Bedok Road Shenton Way / Anson Road
12e Daily Pasir Ris Int Kampong Bahru Ter
14e Weekday Morning & Evening Peak Bedok North Avenue 3 Orchard Road
30e Weekday Morning & Evening Peak Bedok Int Pasir Panjang Road
43e Weekday Morning & Evening Peak Punggol Temp Int Marine Parade Road
89e Weekday Morning & Evening Peak Hougang Central Int  Airport Cargo Road / Airline Road
97e Weekday Morning & Evening Peak Jurong East Int Marina Centre Ter
174e Weekday Morning & Evening Peak Boon Lay Int Kampong Bahru Ter
188e Weekday Morning Peak Choa Chu Kang Int → HarbourFront Int
196e Weekday Morning & Evening Peak Marine Parade Road Shenton Way / Anson Rd
502 Daily Soon Lee Depot ↺ Central Boulevard
502A Weekday Morning Peak Soon Lee Depot → Central Blvd
506 Daily Jurong East Int ↔ Serangoon Int
513 Weekday Morning & Evening Peak Tampines Avenue 5 Shenton Way / Anson Road
518 Daily Pasir Ris Int ↺ Bayfront Avenue
518A Weekday Morning Peak Pasir Ris Int → Bayfront Avenue
850E Weekday Morning & Evening Peak Yishun Street 41 / Yishun Ring Rd Shenton Way / Anson Road
851e Daily Yishun Int ⇆ New Bridge Road / Eu Tong Sen Street
854e Weekday Morning Peak Yishun Int → Bedok Int
868E Weekday Morning Peak Bukit Batok West Avenue 5 → Temasek Avenue
951E Weekday Morning & Evening Peak Woodlands Street 82 Shenton Way / Anson Road
960e Daily Woodlands Int ↔ Marina Centre Ter
963e Weekday Morning & Evening Peak Woodlands Int HarbourFront Int
982E Weekday Morning & Evening Peak Choa Chu Kang Avenue 5 Marina Boulevard / Central Boulevard

Three main types of Express services exist. Full Day express services offer connections from housing estates to the City, or between housing estates. Limited-stop express services closely mirror their parent route but call at fewer bus stops along the way. Finally, CBD express services connect housing estates to the Central Business District (CBD) and operate only during peak hours.

Express Bus Services are not to be confused with designated trunk bus services with express sectors. Many trunk services plying the Tampines Expressway and Bukit Timah Expressway / Pan-Island Expressway corridors are designated as trunk routes rather than Express routes.

Fares: Fares for Express services follow the current distance-based fare scheme (DBF) for Express routes.

History of Express Services

The first-known express bus services began operating in 1997 under the 5xx numbering series. These services complemented the MRT network by providing journeys with comparable/faster journey time by using expressways, many of which serve between the City and housing districts.

List of Former Express services (Click to expand)
Bus Services Description
Express 501 Introduced in 1997 as a peak hour unidirectional service between Hougang Central and Penang Road (AM) / Anson Rd (PM), later extended to Sengkang Int. Withdrawn in 2003 under NEL Rationalization – Phase 2.
Express 502 Introduced in 1997 between Hougang Central and Jurong East, later extended to Sengkang Int. Shortened to loop at Marina Center from Boon Lay under NEL Rationalization – Phase 2, and extended to serve the Bayfront area in 2010.
Express 503 Introduced in 1997 as a peak hour unidirectional service between Tampines and Temasek Ave (AM) / Anson Rd (PM). Amended and renumbered as 505.
Express 505 Introduced in 1999, renumbered from 503. Loop service between Pasir Ris / Tampines and Bukit Merah / Telok Blangah, amended and renumbered 518.
Express 506 Introduced in 1999 between Jurong East and Bedok. Extended to Changi Airport in 2000 and shortened back to Bedok in 2002. Extended to Upper East Coast in 2006.
Express 507 Introduced in 1998 as a peak hour unidirectional service between Boon Lay and Shenton Way (AM) / Anson Rd (PM). Withdrawn in 2004.
Express 508 Peak hour unidirectional service between Sengkang and Penang Rd (AM) / Outram Rd (PM). Shortened to Hougang Central in 2000 with the extension of Express 501 and re-numbered Express 511.
Express 511 Peak hour unidirectional service between Hougang Central and Penang Rd (AM) / Outram Rd (PM), re-numbered from Express 508. Withdrawn in 2003 under NEL Rationalization – Phase 2.
Express 512 Introduced when 502 was extended in 2000. Peak hour unidirectional service between Hougang Central and Outram Rd (AM) / Moulmein Road (PM). Withdrawn in 2003 under NEL Rationalization – Phase 2.
Express 518 Introduced after the re-numbering of Express 505, loop service between Pasir Ris and Orchard / Marina Center. Extended to serve more of Pasir Ris in 2005 and extended to serve the Bayfront area in 2010.
Express 520 Peak hour unidirectional service between Yishun and Outram Rd (AM) / New Bridge Rd Ter (PM). Withdrawn in 2003
Express 521 Introduced in 1999 between Bukit Panjang and World Trade Center (now HarbourFront). Extended to Woodlands in 2002 and converted to trunk Service 963.

From the above list, only Express Services 502, 506 and 518 survive today. Many were withdrawn as part of MRT Rationalization exercises (due to MRT duplication) or merged with existing routes by the year 2004.

History of Limited-stop Express Services

Singapore Bus Services’ first foray into limited-stop express services came on 28 July 1975 with the introduction of six Blue Arrow Services, numbered 301 to 306. Two new routes, 307 & 308, were added in 1976. These peak-hour services with flat fares were targeted at private residential areas with high car ownership, connecting them to the CBD with city-bound trips in the morning, and return trips in the evening. These services were gradually withdrawn due to low demand, or converted to trunk services. The last surviving route, Blue Arrow 301, was withdrawn on 6 November 1989.

In 2005, SBS Transit introduced a series of limited-stop express services branded as Fast-Forward routes, duplicating existing trunk bus routes with express sectors. These services operate during peak hours, calling only at stops with higher demand and skipping sections of the route for faster point-to-point travel. SMRT Buses introduced similar routes from 2006 to 2009.

History of CBD Express Services

Between 2010 and 2016, new express routes were introduced to connect housing estates to the Central Business District (CBD) during peak hours, competing alongside Premium Buses. Part of these services were introduced under the BSEP scheme, including City Direct routes.

Post-Bus Contracting Model

With the implementation of the Bus Contracting Model, LTA introduced several limited-stop express bus services alongside regular trunk services, operating at regular intervals daily. However, this proved to be costly to operate and the operating hours were reduced in February 2020, with the exception of Express 147e which was withdrawn and Express 43e which was introduced in September 2019 as a weekday peak-hour express service. Express 167e was withdrawn in December 2020, after operating for a little over 2 years.

Nomenclature and numbering of Express Bus Services (apart from 502, 506, 518) were formalised on 12 August 2018, discontinuing SBS Transit’s Fast-Forward branding.

In December 2021, Express 506 was amended to Serangoon Bus Interchange from Jurong East Bus Interchange, instead of Upper East Coast Bus Terminal as part of the Downtown Line 3 Bus Service Rationalisations.

Pros & Cons


The point-to-point nature of express routes provides convenience and encourages commuters to rely on them rather than taking a train, reducing commuters’ reliance on the rail network and alternative means of road transport, like private cars and taxis. For bus operators, the decreased run-time of Express routes translates to fewer buses being deployed compared to an ordinary route over the same distance. Carrying passengers over longer distances at a time, reduces the strain of boarding and alighting activities at en-route stops, which take up a lot of time, especially during peak hours.


While “Express” services incorporate express or limited-stop sectors, they may not offer significantly faster journey times, with Express services such as 854E duplicating their parent routes to a large extent but charging higher fares under the Express designation. Sometimes, commuters are forced to take Express services within their non-Express sectors as existing bus routes do not provide direct connections to their destination, or alternative bus routes would require multiple transfers between non-express bus services.

Former Express Services
Service Route Remarks
147e New Bridge Road / Eu Tong Sen Street ↔ Clementi Int Withdrawn on 9 February 2020
971E Bukit Panjang Temp Bus Park Cecil Street / Anson Road Converted to trunk service from 31 Aug 2020 with route amendment to Petir Road
Sembawang Int ↔ Shenton Way / Anson Road Withdrawn on 14 December 2020
74e Hougang Central Int Buona Vista Ter Withdrawn on 17 January 2022
151e Hougang Central Int Kent Ridge Ter Withdrawn on 17 January 2022
188R Choa Chu Kang Int ↔ Resorts World Sentosa Withdrawn on 30 June 2022
963R Woodlands Int ↔ Resorts World Sentosa Withdrawn on 30 June 2022


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11 thoughts on “Express Bus Services

  • 4 February 2024 at 8:42 PM

    670 is express bus ?

  • 3 September 2023 at 2:20 PM

    Buses 196e, 513, 850E, 951E and 982E can convert into city direct services.
    513 will renumber to 658
    850E will renumber to 659 and be operated by tower transit
    951E will renumber to 662
    982E will renumber to 664
    196e will renumber to 669
    Need new city direct to serve tengah will be 650

    • 4 October 2023 at 1:27 PM

      Don’t bother with 196e. In fact the whole eastern section of 196 can be replaced by TEL4.

    • 19 November 2023 at 10:09 AM

      Might as well go with the numerically similar-looking ones. Thus 513 to 673. 850E to 650. 982E to 662. 868E to 658. Only 951E has no choice and have to go with 664 to be next to already existing 665.

  • 21 March 2022 at 8:12 PM

    if there is 850E then there is 850 that could be in service in the future


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