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Chee Hong Tat to meet Bukit Panjang MPs, residents after huge backlash over changes to bus services

The newly appointed Senior Minister of State for Transport said that he would seek to understand (residents’) concerns and discuss possible mitigation measures

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Following an outcry from Bukit Panjang residents to the Land Transport Authority’s statement on changes in the bus services from the area to the city from Aug 16, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) announced its plans to meet with various stakeholders on Saturday (Aug 8) to discuss a way forward.

Mr Chee Hong Tat, the newly appointed Senior Minister of State for Transport, said that he would seek to “understand (residents’) concerns and discuss what are the possible mitigation measures”.

Initially, the LTA announced that two services will cease operating, one will be shortened and one will be rerouted.

Many online voiced that they felt that the authority was failing to meet their transport needs.

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The LTA had released a statement on Tuesday (Aug 4) on its Facebook page on the changes to the bus services. It had said that the decision to make changes to some of the bus services as well as the discontinuation of Services 700 and 700A came in light of the decrease in bus ridership since the opening of the Downtown Line.

It explained: “With the opening of the Downtown Line (DTL) Phase 2 in December 2015, the ridership of bus services that run parallel to the MRT line has dropped sharply. For Service 171, ridership fell by over 30% in the first year after DTL Phase 2 opened. For Service 700, the drop is more than 50%.”

Mr Liang, who is the MP for Bukit Panjang Single Member Constituency, and Mr Chia, who oversees the Zhenghua ward of Holland-Bukit Timah Group Representation Constituency, which is in the Bukit Panjang district, expressed their disappointment with the changes on Monday, saying that residents have been airing their grievances, too.

Mr Liang said that he was “saddened that (LTA bus planners) have no regard (for) how these changes will impact” residents’ lives.

In a Facebook post on Friday (Aug 7), On Friday, Mr Chee said that LTA has been engaging grassroots advisers on the matter since 2016, then echoed LTA’s justifications for making changes to the bus routes earlier this week. /TISG

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