SINGAPORE: The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has decided to adjust and cancel several bus routes, citing a decline in demand. The decision, particularly the cancellation of bus service 167, has been met with scepticism from commuters who assert that the demand for these services remains high.

The LTA defended its decision, pointing to the launch of services on the Thomson-East Coast MRT line as a primary factor contributing to the decreased demand for bus routes along this corridor. In an effort to reallocate limited resources, the LTA announced adjustments to bus services 167, 162/162M, and 75, categorizing them as “long-distance services” that have experienced a 30 to 40 per cent drop in demand.

Effective 10 Dec, bus service 167, connecting Sembawang, Upper Thomson Road, Novena, Orchard Road, the Central Business District, and Redhill, will cease operations. Additionally, bus services 162 and 162M will be merged into a single service (162), with changes to their routes, and bus number 75 will no longer run to Outram Park MRT Station, Shenton Avenue, and Marina Centre.

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The LTA emphasized that these adjustments were finalized after consulting with community leaders and incorporating their feedback and suggestions. However, passengers interviewed by CNA expressed disagreement with the LTA’s assessment, deeming the decision “ridiculous” and disputing the claim that passenger demand had decreased.

A man in his 20s, interviewed at the Upper Thomson Road MRT station, said he had been a regular user of bus No. 167 throughout his life. Contrary to the LTA’s claim, he insisted that the bus remained popular, especially during weekends when it was consistently filled with passengers travelling to Orchard Road.

As a consequence of the route cancellation, the man now finds himself needing to take bus 980 to Novena MRT station and then transfer to the MRT to reach Orchard Road. He noted that under the new plan, the frequency of bus route 980 will increase.

Another passenger, 61-year-old Mr Wong, said he and his wife rely on the soon-to-be-terminated bus route as they regularly dine at Upper Thomson Road. With the impending cancellation, Mr Wong is uncertain where they will dine.

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His wife echoed similar sentiments, describing bus No 167 as possibly the most frequently used bus in their area as it connects to the bustling row of eateries at Casuarina Road.

Dismissing the LTA’s decision as “ridiculous,” Mrs Wong urged the authorities to introduce alternative transportation routes promptly, emphasizing that the nearest MRT station from their residence is still a considerable distance away.