The Ministry of Transport and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) will work with Bukit Panjang MP Liang Eng Hwa and Holland-Bukit Timah GRC MP Edward Chia over the National Day weekend to explore options to mitigate the impact of changes to three bus services.
Senior Minister of State for Transport Chee Hong Tat gave this update in a Facebook post yesterday after meeting both MPs to discuss the planned changes to services 171, 700 and 972, which have upset a number of residents. He had also spoken to residents and hopes to give a progress update this week.
Mr Chia said mitigating options which included suggestions from residents were put up, and he was glad that the LTA is studying them.
Mr Liang said the options discussed will minimise extra travelling time caused by the changes and continue to offer Petir Road residents a direct bus service to town during peak hours.
From next Sunday, services 700 and 700A (the off-peak variant of 700) will be removed. They are the only direct bus links between Bukit Panjang and areas like Orchard Road, Bras Basah and Shenton Way.
Service 171, which links Yishun to Marina Centre and passes through Bukit Panjang, will be shortened.
Service 972, which links Bukit Panjang to Orchard Road, will be re-routed to Newton MRT station.
Mr Chee noted that for service 972, the main concern is the impact of the change on travelling time.
As for service 700, while Petir Road residents can take service 973 to Hillview MRT station and transfer to the Downtown Line at the same fare and travel time, some prefer to have a direct service to town, he said. "The final solutions may require some give and take between different groups of commuters. We will assess the options based on their effectiveness... as well as their financial impact to ensure that public funds are used prudently."
In an e-mail reply to a Bukit Panjang resident who submitted a petition with over 2,000 names asking the LTA to rescind the changes, Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said he had asked the LTA to look into the matter, and it should be prepared to inject more buses into the remaining services if necessary.