SMRT’s Night Rider and SBS’s Nite Owl bus services to be discontinued due to low demand

SINGAPORE – SMRT and SBS Transit announced Thursday (June 16) that they will discontinue their night bus services, suspended since 2020, from June 30.

In response to TODAY’s questions, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said: “The decision to withdraw these bus services comes after carefully weighing factors such as ridership, availability of alternatives, caution financial and freeing up limited resources. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, demand for these bus services was low and there are alternatives available to commuters.”

SMRT will discontinue its Night Rider services and two other bus services, the 188R service and the 926 service.

Commuters traveling from Chua Chu Kang and Bukit Batok to Resorts World Sentosa on the 188R service can instead take the 188 service to HarbourFront MRT station and connect to the Sentosa Express Monorail or RWS8 shuttle service.

Alternatively, commuters can also take the MRT and connect to the 123 service at MRT Tiong Bahru station.

Commuters traveling from Woodlands to Singapore Zoo on the 926 service can instead take the 138 service from MRT Ang Mo Kio and Springleaf stations, or the 927 service from MRT Choa Chu Kang station or the Mandai Khatib shuttle from MRT Khatib station at Singapore Zoo.

SBS Transit will discontinue its Nite Owl services and two others, CT8 and CT18, which take commuters to Chinatown.

As an alternative to CT8, commuters can take the MRT or 166, 851 or 851e services, SBS Transit said. And instead of CT18, they can take the MRT or bus service 2.

TODAY spoke to several late workers who said they would not miss late-night bus services when they were interrupted. Workers are unaffected by the move as their companies provide transportation options.

While in operation, the Nite Owl and Night Rider services were only available on Fridays, Saturdays, and the eves of public holidays, and ended at 2 a.m.

A chef, who wanted to be known only as Mr Lee, 34, said: ‘My company provides transportation as we finish work around 2am as we have to open quite late.’

TODAY also spoke to several young people, between the ages of 21 and 28, and found that most were unaware that these Night Rider services were available before the pandemic.

Ms Sarah Lee, 25, an undergraduate student, said: ‘I took the bus once in 2018 because I was going home after a few drinks and decided to give it a try. I didn’t really take it back because I’d rather just go swimming and take a cab with my friends. It was just a bit more expensive, but at least I can go straight home.

LTA said it will “closely monitor ridership of the alternatives and make adjustments as necessary to ensure there is sufficient capacity for commuters.”

Earnest L. Veasey