Public Outcry Forces LTA to Keep Bus Service 167 Despite Initial Plan
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) made a surprising U-turn on its decision to discontinue bus service 167 from 10 Dec.
Now, operations will remain normal until 17 Dec. The only change is that from 17 Dec, bus service 167 will operate in 30-min intervals.
The main reason? Public outcry.
What LTA Initially Planned
Following the launch of the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) Stage 3 last year, travel routes were expanded, shortening travel times.
The TEL offered a 35-minute journey from Woodlands South to Orchard, compared to the 50-minute journey by bus and MRT.
Just recently, LTA shared on Facebook that since TEL Stage 3’s opening last year, the average weekday ridership on TEL has almost tripled, from 60,000 in Oct 2022 to 177,000 in Oct 2023.
This surge in TEL usage has led to a 30-40% decrease in overall ridership for some bus services along TEL segments.
To streamline services and better cater to residents in new towns, LTA planned several changes from 10 Dec:
- Ceasing bus 167 and enhancing bus 980 frequency, covering a similar route between Sembawang and Thomson Road.
- Modifying bus 859 to run along Canberra Link and Sembawang Road while enhancing connectivity to Bukit Canberra.
- Merging bus 162 and 162M to shorten the route, no longer extending all the way to Orchard.
- Shortening bus 75, serving only from Cantonment Road to Shenton Way Bus Terminal.
While these changes aimed to reduce redundancy and improve efficiency in light of TEL, they weren’t universally well-received.
Some commuters, especially those in the Sembawang area, were concerned about the discontinuation of bus 167.
For many, bus 980 didn’t provide a convenient alternative, making it especially challenging for senior citizens who rely on buses over the MRT.
In just four days after the announcement, a change.org petition to reinstate bus services 167 and 75 had gathered 755 signatures, emphasising the importance of inclusivity for the elderly who depend on these services, particularly for reaching Singapore General Hospital’s medical center.
Following this public outcry, LTA decided to reevaluate its decision regarding bus 167.
In a Facebook post on 28 Nov, LTA acknowledged the extensive changes required for bus 167 and opted to retain the service while adjusting it to run at 30-minute intervals throughout the day.
The modifications for all bus routes, initially set for 10 Dec, will now commence on 17 Dec, giving commuters more time to adapt to new travel routes.
Can’t Please Everyone
LTA concluded its announcement by asking for commuters’ understanding that preserving direct bus connections for every journey isn’t always feasible.
As Singapore’s transportation landscape evolves, with new options like the TEL and other MRT lines, and as residents and workplaces shift locations, new bus services will be essential to cater to these changing travel needs.
LTA remains committed to optimising finite resources.
Opinions on this decision vary, with some commuters content that their voices were heard, while others maintain that Bus 167 and TEL don’t significantly overlap.
Who knows, will there be a next petition after today again?
To find out more about this Bus 167 Saga, watch this video:
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