SINGAPORE: In a turn of events, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) has withdrawn its earlier decision to cancel bus service 167 following a public outcry from commuters who strongly disagreed with the move. However, the LTA has announced that it will be implementing changes to the frequency of the service, with buses now scheduled to operate every half hour starting from Dec 17.

Earlier this month, the LTA had revealed plans to adjust and cancel several bus routes due to a perceived decline in demand. However, this decision, particularly the cancellation of bus service 167, was met with skepticism and criticism from commuters who argued that there was still a substantial demand for these services.

The LTA defended its initial decision by attributing the decrease in demand to introducing services on the Thomson-East Coast MRT line. In an effort to allocate limited resources effectively, the LTA had announced adjustments to bus services 167, 162/162M, and 75, categorizing them as “long-distance services” that had experienced a significant drop in demand, ranging between 30 and 40 percent.

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Bus service 167, which connects Sembawang, Upper Thomson Road, Novena, Orchard Road, the Central Business District, and Redhill, was initially slated for cancellation on Dec 10. The LTA had also planned changes for bus services 162, 162M, and 75.

Despite the LTA’s claims of consulting community leaders and incorporating their feedback and suggestions during the decision-making process, regular passengers swiftly voiced their disagreement, labelling the decision as “ridiculous” and disputing the assertion that passenger demand had decreased.

Responding to the public backlash, the LTA has now reversed its decision to cancel bus route 167. In an official statement released this week, the authority acknowledged that when reviewing bus services, it should consider the availability of alternative services and ensure that affected passengers have access to the MRT and other bus services after the adjustments.

Recognizing that some passengers may require more time to adapt to new routes, particularly those travelling on bus service 167, the LTA has decided to retain the service. However, the frequency of buses on this route will be adjusted to every half hour throughout the day. These changes, alongside other previously announced adjustments, will take effect from Dec 17.