Bus Service 167 To Be Discontinued & 162 Shortened, TEL Ridership Almost Tripled
When Stage 3 of the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) opened one year ago, residents in northern Singapore gained a faster way to travel to town.
However, as the ridership increased on TEL3, the bus services along parts of its route saw fewer passengers.
Thus, bus service 167 will be discontinued, said the Land Transport Authority (LTA).
Other bus routes like 162 and 75 will be shortened.
Bus service 167 discontinued from 10 Dec
In a news release on 17 Nov, the LTA said bus 167 will be discontinued from 10 Dec — meaning it will run for just over three weeks more.
The service goes from Sembawang to Bukit Merah Bus Interchange, passing through the entire Upper Thomson Road, Orchard Road and Shenton Way.
According to Land Transport Guru, 167 has been in service since 1974. It’s now operated by Tower Transit.
Other services to make up for discontinued bus 167
To make up for the discontinuation of 167, other bus services will be amended so residents in the north can have alternative means of transport.
One of them is bus 980, which “serves a similar sector” between Sembawang and Thomson Road, LTA said. Its frequency will be increased to cope with the demand from residents in Sembawang and Upper Thomson.
A portion of Canberra Link and Sembawang Road, currently served by 167, will be served by bus service 859 instead.
859’s route will be extended, adding three new pairs of bus stops to its journey.
Service 162 will be shortened
Besides 167, another bus service to be cut is 162/162M, which currently connects Ang Mo Kio and Bishan to Orchard and Shenton Way/Marina Centre.
From 10 Dec, it will be merged into just 162 and shortened.
162 will henceforth not serve Thomson Road and the town area. Instead, it will turn back at Sin Ming Drive.
This will “enhance local connectivity” within Sin Ming and provide new connections to Upper Thomson Road, LTA said.
Service 75 will be shortened
Another bus service to be shortened is 75, which currently runs between Bukit Panjang and Marina Centre.
From 10 Dec, it will not pass Outram Park, Shenton Way and Marina Centre, diverting to Bukit Merah interchange instead.
With the change, 75 won’t serve the residential estates in the Cantonment area any more.
Thus, service 121 will be amended to ply Cantonment Road en route to Shenton Way Bus Terminal instead, so the residents there will still be linked to Outram Park MRT.
TEL ridership has almost tripled
The reason for the changes is the opening of TEL3, LTA said.
Since TEL3 opened in November 2022, the average weekday ridership on the TEL has almost tripled, they added.
In October 2022 it was 60,000, but increased to 177,000 one year later.
Bus ridership along TEL down 30-40%
However, the increase in TEL ridership has had an impact on bus ridership, LTA said.
Specifically, some bus services that operate along portions of the TEL have seen decreased ridership of around 30% to 40%.
Thus, the bus route changes are necessary,
… to reduce duplication of bus services with TEL and to reallocate finite resources to better serve residents from new estates within our towns.
Netizens dismayed over changes
The announcement on LTA’s Facebook page was met with dismay by some netizens, some of whom were saddened by 167’s impending demise as it’s a “memorable” bus route.
Other commuters said they preferred to take bus services like 167 and 162 as they wanted to avoid crowded trains.
Another pointed out that the soon-to-be scrapped services would help out if the TEL breaks down.
A commenter suggested the TEL’s peak hour frequency should be increased since some bus services will be scrapped or shortened.
A few praised the TEL for the alternative means of transport it provides.
Hopefully, residents in the north who take public transport often will take note of the changes and figure out alternative transport options quickly.
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Featured image adapted from Singapore Buses on Facebook.
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