Rationalisation of bus services are carried out by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to optimize service levels offered by Singapore’s public transport network. These efforts include the reduction of operating frequency or operating hours of certain bus services, or the merger and withdrawal of certain bus services that suffer from low demand.
Under the Bus Contracting Model (BCM), the LTA assumes the role of a central planning agency, and decides on bus services to be provided, and the service standards which operators have to meet. As part of this responsibility, public transport connections that are duplicitous or underutilized are rationalised to optimise the usage of resources and cut down on financially unsustainable services.
Historically, large-scale rationalisation of bus services were conducted following the opening of new rail lines to avoid duplication. In modern times, rationalisation of bus services are more restrained and targeted at the most underutilized bus routes.
This article summarises these changes to bus services since the start of 2019, and will be updated with instances of upcoming announced bus service rationalisations where implemented.
Reduction in Trips for Express Bus Services – Express 12e, 851e & 960e
The frequency for Express Services 12e, 851e & 960e during weekday peak hours were reduced from 20 mins to 30 mins effective 4 January 2021.
These services will thus operate 4 fewer trips every weekday (2 city-bound trips & 2 heartlands-bound trips removed).
Operating hours for SMRT Express 167e was shortened in February 2020, where it was reduced from operating daily to only on Weekdays (except peak hours). In addition, on operating days, trips from Sembawang was reduced to operate till 1830hrs, while trips from Anson Road start from 1230hrs instead.
With the constant low demand for this service, it was withdrawn on 14 December 2020. The last day of operations was on 11 December 2020.
Downtown Line 2 Bus Service Rationalisations
Following the Controversy over Bus 700 withdrawal and Bus 171 & 972 amendment, changes to bus services were implemented on 30 August 2020 instead of 16 August 2020 with modifications to the original rationalisation plan.
Originally planned for withdrawal on 16 August 2020, Bus Services 700 & 700A will be withdrawn instead on 30 August 2020. The last day of service will be on Saturday, 29 August 2020 for Services 700 & 700A.
Bus Service 171
Bus Service 171 from Yishun Bus Interchange will be shortened to loop at Bukit Panjang MRT from 30 August 2020, no longer serving Orchard and Marina Centre. The amendment was originally planned to take effect from 16 August 2020.
Bus Service 972
Bus Service 972 was planned to be amended to serve Newton MRT Station via Dunearn Road / Bukit Timah Road and Scotts Road from 16 August 2020. Following the announcement, the plan to amend Service 972 was scrapped.
Instead, new Bus Service 972M will be introduced from 30 August 2020 to serve Newton MRT Station via Dunearn Road / Bukit Timah Road and Scotts Road.
Bus Service 128
Short Trip Service 117B
Rationalisation of Full-Day Express services
All five full-day Express bus services introduced in 2018 were subject to rationalisation as follows:
- Shortened operating hours for 12e, 167e, 851e and 960e:
From heartlands: 0600hrs-1830hrs; from City: 1230hrs-2330hrs
- No operation on Sundays and Public Holidays for 167e
- Withdrawal of 147e
Services 7A & 7B
SBS Transit Short Trip Bus Services 7A & 7B were introduced in February 2018 to supplement Bus Service 7, operating daily for the entire day.
In addition to Service 7A & 7B, buses would return back to Bedok & Clementi bus interchanges by operating on Service 7 from Orchard & Dhoby Ghaut respectively.
Operating hours for these two Short Trip Services were rationalised from 22 December 2019 to only operate during weekday morning and evening peak hours, while ending earlier with the last buses departing at 2100hrs on Weekends & Public Holidays.
Bus Parallel Service BPS1, a peak hour bus route introduced in 2011 as a measure to reduce peak hour crowding on the Bukit Panjang LRT network by providing an alternative travel route for residents at Segar, Jelapang and Senja to Choa Chu Kang, was withdrawn on 10 November 2019.
Post On-Demand Public Bus Trial Rationalisation
With the end of the On-Demand Public Bus trials in June 2019, several bus services were changed.
Service 163M was withdrawn on 10 February 2019, with Short Trip Service 163A introduced on the same day to operate at night from Sengkang Interchange to Fernvale Lane. More trips were added on Service 163 to make up for the withdrawal of Service 163M during its former operating hours.
City Direct Services
Since April 2017, City Direct bus services have been progressively transferred from private bus operators to public bus operators. In addition, several City Direct bus services were also withdrawn in 2018 & 2019.