Bus Service 76, which currently travels from Yio Chu Kang to Marine Terrace, provides a direct bus connection between Marine Parade and Ang Mo Kio, which has remained mostly unchanged for 27 years. Many signatories of a petition, Cancellation of amendment of SBS Transit Bus Service 76, have complained about the removal of this direct bus connection.
Under the Bus Service Enhancement Programme, Bus Service 76 will be shortened to Eunos Bus Interchange on 20 March 2016, skipping its existing sector between Paya Lebar MRT, Tanjong Katong and Marine Parade. Two new bus services, 134 and 150, will also be introduced on the same day. Bus service 134 will cover the the lost sector of Bus Service 76, running from Sims Place Bus Terminal and looping at Marine Terrace.
It is understood that many people depend on Bus Service 76 as a direct bus between Ang Mo Kio and Marine Parade. With the route amendment starting from Sunday, affected passengers travelling towards Marine Parade on Bus 76 will have to alight at Paya Lebar MRT Station and transfer to either Bus 43, 134 or 135, and vice versa.
The additional hassle to transfer to another bus is unjustified if a large proportionate of Bus 76’s commuters depend on it as a direct bus between Ang Mo Kio and Marine Parade. Bus 43, which currently plies the same route as Bus 76 from Upp Paya Lebar Road to Marine Parade, might be overcrowded by displaced passengers. Bus 43 already receives high ridership levels during peak hours, but overcrowding can be offset by deploying more double-decker buses.
Previously, amendment of a bus service was successfully averted by discontented residents – SMRT Bus Service 300, which was originally planned to split into a bidirectional service, 300G and 300W. Residents affected by the route change wrote in to their MPs, who in turn prevented the route change.
The substitution of a bus service’s route with a new bus service is not new – previously, bus service 189 was similarly affected back in 23 November 2014, where its route between Clementi and Kent Ridge was replaced with new bus service 201. Much confusion was observed at the Clementi MRT Bus stop for several weeks, and SMRT Service Ambassadors had to board every single bus of service 189 to inform passengers of the route change.
The petition to cancel Bus Service 76’s amended route may have come too late to reverse LTA’s decision. However, you may find the petition at this link to support the cause.