Rationalisation of Bus Service Operations (2019 – 2024)

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 generally 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.

Date Service(s) affected Description
8 April 2024 902 Reduced operating hours
17 Dec 2023 75, 121, 162, 162M, 167, 859, 980 Thomson-East Coast Line 3 rationalisation exercise [Link]
29 May 2023 665, 951E Reduction of Morning Peak trips
9 Apr 2023 12e851e, 960e  Reduced operating hours
12 Dec 2022 131M, 139M  Withdrawn
30 Jun 2022 CT8, CT18, NR1, NR2, NR3, NR5, NR6, NR8, 1N, 2N, 3N, 4N, 5N, 6N Withdrawal of Night and Leisure Bus Services [Link]
(suspended since the COVID-19 pandemic)
16/17 Jan 2022 74e & 151e
12e & 43e
851e & 960e
74e & 151e – withdrawn
12e & 43e – resumed with fewer trips
851e & 960e – reduced trips
12 Dec 2021 22, 66, 506 Downtown Line 3 rationalisation exercise [Link]
4 Jan 2021 12e, 851e, 960e Reduced trips
14 Dec 2020 167e Withdrawn
30 Aug 2020 171, 700, 700A, 971E Downtown Line 2 rationalisation exercise [Link]
2 Jun 2020 128  Withdrawn (suspended since the COVID-19 pandemic)
30 Mar 2020 117B Withdrawn
9 Feb 2020 12e, 147e, 167e851e960e 147e withdrawn; others reduced operating hours/trips
22 Dec 2019 7A & 7B Reduced operating hours/trips
10 Nov 2019 BPS1  Withdrawn
16 Jun 2019 402, NR7 Withdrawn
10 Feb 2019 163M Withdrawn
3 Jun 2019 669 Withdrawn
17 Dec 2018 658659662664 Withdrawn

Service 902 – Reduction in Operating Hours

Operating hours for SMRT Feeder Bus Service 902, which serves Republic Polytechnic, were reduced by 1 hour from 8 April 2024.

On operating days (weekdays during Republic Polytechnic school term), operating hours were reduced from 07:30–10:00 (3.5 hours) to 07:45–09:15 (2.5 hours).

Thomson-East Coast Line 3 Bus Service Rationalisations

Main Article, including withdrawn posters: Thomson-East Coast Line 3 Bus Service Changes

Bus service rationalizations for the Thomson-East Coast Line 3 took effect on Sunday, 17 December 2023.

  • Service 75 amended from Gali Batu ↔ Marina Centre to Gali Batu ↔ Bukit Merah
  • Service 121 amended from Kampong Bahru ↺ Telok Blangah Rise to Shenton Way ↺ Telok Blangah Rise, covering the lost sector of Service 75 along Cantonment Road and Cantonment Link
  • Service 162 shortened from Yio Chu Kang ↔ Shenton Way to Yio Chu Kang ↺ Sin Ming Drive, via Marymount MRT and Shunfu Road
  • Service 162M withdrawn
  • Service 167 will operate at 30-minute frequencies daily
  • Service 859 amended to Canberra Link & part of Sembawang Road, serving Bukit Canberra
  • Service 980 frequency enhanced – First bus timing from Sembawang Int brought forward, Last bus timing towards Sembawang at Thomson Rd (Bus Stop 50031 – Opp Novena Ch) to be later & increased frequency

The LTA initially planned to withdraw Bus Service 167, and all bus service changes were due to take effect on 10 December 2023.

However, in response to negative public sentiment, the LTA backtracked on its decision to withdraw Service 167 and would retain it at 30-minute intervals. Planned amendments to other bus routes, namely 75, 121, 162/M and 859, were also delayed by a week to 17 December 2023 instead.


Reduction of Morning Peak trips for City Direct 665 & Express 951E (May 2023)

From 29 May 2023, one morning peak trip was cut from both City Direct 665 & Express 951E, which connect Woodlands and the CBD. This was possibly due to the opening of Thomson-East Coast Line 3 back in November 2022.

Reduction in Operating Hours for Express Bus Services (Apr 2023)

Operating hours for Express 12e, 851e & 960e were further reduced in April 2023. This is the 4th instance of trip reduction since their introduction in 2018.

Withdrawal of selected Supplementary Bus Services (Dec 2022)

In December 2022, Bus Services 131M & 139M were withdrawn.

Withdrawal of Night and Leisure Bus Services (Jun 2022)

See also: Withdrawal of Night and Leisure Bus Services | Land Transport Guru

Night and leisure bus services that were suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020 and had yet to resume as of end-June 2022, were formally withdrawn on 30 June 2022.

These are:

Changes to Express Bus Services (Jan 2022)

In January 2022, changes to several express bus services were made.

Service Withdrawals – Express 74e & 151e

Express Bus Services 74e & 151e were withdrawn on 17 January 2022.

Reinstatement of Express 12e & 43e

Previously suspended from 16 September 2021 due to the COVID-19 impact on Manpower, Go-Ahead Express Bus Services 12e & 43e were reinstated from 16 January & 17 January 2022 respectively.

However, the service timetable was adjusted for fewer trips on Express 12e with up to 1 hour frequency during selected hours. Operating hours for Express 43e were reduced with the last two morning peak & first two evening peak trips cut.

Change in Timetable – Express 851e & 960e

From 16 January 2022, fewer trips of Express 851e & 960e would be operated, with up to 1-hour frequencies during selected hours.

Official Statistics

There are no official statistics on the number of bus services that have been rationalised.

In response to media queries from TODAY, an LTA spokesperson did not provide figures but said that the authority “periodically reviews and makes adjustments” to Singapore’s bus network in response to “new developments and changing travel patterns”.

Changes between 2019-2021 on Page 2:
  • Downtown Line 3 Bus Service Rationalisations
  • Reduction in Trips for Express Bus Services – Express 12e, 851e & 960e
  • Express 167e
  • Downtown Line 2 Bus Service Rationalisations
  • Bus Service 128
  • Short Trip Service 117B
  • Rationalisation of Full-Day Express services
  • Service BPS1
  • Post On-Demand Public Bus Trial Rationalisation
  • Service 163M
  • City Direct Services

34 thoughts on “Rationalisation of Bus Service Operations (2019 – 2024)

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  • 30 December 2021 at 1:10 AM

    Honestly, if people do not want to use buses, the data will be reflected into LTA and they will find new ways to make it more cost-saving…. So go and convinced more people to take the buses and keep those route alive ….

    • 16 February 2022 at 11:05 PM

      Hence, may end work from home, more funding for public transport operators, free rides for the elderly on public transport, free rides on MRT in the city area.

  • 28 December 2021 at 6:53 PM

    Wah lta is getting worst and worst. This crap has to come to a stop. Why the hell reduse 851e frequncey to 1 hour. 851e has gd loading most of the time. Why why why why. Has the world gone mad and blind.

  • 26 November 2021 at 10:46 PM

    Other than my previous opinion, let’s take a look at the possibility:

    1) Bidadari ITH & Buangkok ITH are under construction. Together with Punggol North ITH is in the pipeline.
    – I would foresee Express 506 is a temporary amendment to Serangoon Interchange. I may foresee this service will either shorten its terminating point or extend its terminating point to either 1 of the ITH.

    2) Service 66 looping at Upper Bukit Timah Road (Bukit Timah Plaza).
    – Since Beauty World ITH is in the pipeline, Service 66 may be amended to terminate at the ITH. However, there is another alternative service from JE (Service 41). Till the ITH is ready for operations, we shall see which bus services would be amended to terminate there.

    3) Service 22 terminating at Eunos.
    – IMO, a wrong move to let it terminate at Eunos as the route from Eunos to Ubi already covered by Service 61/63/63M. Should have allow it to terminate at Bedok Interchange replacing amended Service 66.

    • 3 December 2021 at 11:08 AM

      for 41, we can make it start from Beauty World ITH loop at Jurong Gateway Rd like 79. And for 66, maybe can just extend to Ang Mo Kio

      • 28 December 2021 at 2:59 PM

        Why extend 66 to AMK? From Bukit Timah there’s already 74 and 852 to AMK.

    • 3 December 2021 at 11:43 AM

      Agreeeee, sv 22 should go Bedok instead, they straight away remove 3 service around bedok reservoir area. LTA always like to made people live difficult, and planning always suck.

    • 26 December 2021 at 11:24 AM

      Do not forget 22 now duplicates the following bus services other than 61,63,63M from eunos link to eunos MRT station that are:15,25,51,55,93,94,854.

    • 12 January 2022 at 7:04 PM

      What do you think of 22 covering the lost sectors of 66 from Ubi Avenue 2 to Bedok, & 22M replacing 228? Is it a good idea?

  • 24 November 2021 at 9:43 AM

    If bus 66 is going to be amended, I suggest introducing a new bus service (maybe 44) from Gali Batu Terminal to Bedok Interchange entirely duplicating the lost sector of bus 66

    As for bus 506, Maybe can amend Bus 109 to Upper East Coast Terminal and Bus 29 to cover lost sectors of bus 506 and 109


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