Bus service 167 ends, routes shortened amid 'almost tripled' ridership on Thomson-East Coast Line

The Land Transport Authority reveals increased weekday ridership since the launch of TEL3 and redefines bus routes for enhanced connectivity

The Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL3) sees a weekday ridership surge from 60,000 to 177,000 since its launch, marking almost a threefold increase by October 2023
The Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL3) sees a weekday ridership surge from 60,000 to 177,000 since its launch, marking almost a threefold increase by October 2023 (PHOTO: Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE —With the rising number of commuters opting for the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL), certain bus services will cease operations or undergo adjustments starting 10 December.

Bus service 167, covering areas like Sembawang, Upper Thomson, Novena, Orchard, the central business district, and Bukit Merah, will cease operations to accommodate changing demands of commuters.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA), announcing the changes on Friday (17 November), said that modifications will be made to maintain connectivity along key segments of the original Service 167 route.

To enhance connectivity to Bukit Canberra, LTA said that Service 859 will now run along Canberra Link and Sembawang Road.

Additionally, the frequency of Service 980, covering a sector similar to Service 167 between Sembawang and Thomson Road, will be increased.

All three services are under the operation of Tower Transit Singapore.

Moreover, LTA noted a decrease in ridership of approximately 30 to 40 per cent for some bus services along segments of the TEL.

Adjustments will be implemented "to reduce duplication of bus services with TEL and to reallocate finite resources to better serve residents from new estates."

Revamped bus routes enhance local connectivity and streamline services in Singapore

Service 162 and 162M, operated by SBS Transit, will merge into a single Service 162, travelling between Yio Chu Kang Bus Interchange and Sin Ming.

This revised route will no longer include Thomson Road and the central business district, aiming to improve local connectivity in the Sin Ming area and establish new connections to Upper Thomson Road, said LTA.

Similarly, Service 75, operated by SMRT Buses, will be shortened, terminating at Bukit Merah Bus Interchange instead of Marina Centre Bus Terminal. This change aims to enhance connectivity for Kim Tian Road residents.

Meanwhile, SBS Transit's Service 121 will be adjusted to maintain the original connection between Outram Park MRT and the residential estates in the Cantonment area by traversing Cantonment Road en route to Shenton Way Bus Terminal.

Information about these changes will be available at relevant bus stops, interchanges and on the websites of LTA and the respective bus operators.

TEL's Stage 3 spurs surge in ridership and slashes commute times

The LTA highlighted that since the launch of TEL's Stage 3, the MRT line's average weekday ridership has "almost tripled" to 177,000 in October 2023 from 60,000 in October 2022.

The agency emphasised that 80 per cent of journeys on TEL3 experienced reduced travel times, with approximately 30 per cent saving over 10 minutes.

LTA mentioned a resident near Mayflower station who can now commute to the CBD via Shenton Way station in 30 minutes using TEL, compared to 45 minutes by bus. Similarly, the travel time to Gardens by the Bay for the same resident has been reduced to 40 minutes, saving 25 minutes with TEL.

TEL stands as Singapore's sixth MRT line and is set to connect the eastern and northern parts of Singapore upon its completion in 2025.

Stage 3 of Thomson-East Coast Line
Stage 3 of Thomson-East Coast Line (PHOTOS: Land Transport Authority)

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