NightRider and 11 other bus services to stop from June 30

NightRider services connect the city and major housing estates during the after-hours. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - SMRT will discontinue its six NightRider services from June 30, the public transport operator said on Thursday (June 16).

Eleven other bus services (188R, 926, 963R, CT8, CT18, 1N, 2N, 3N, 4N, 5N, 6N) that are night services or ply recreational places, which, like the NightRider services, have been suspended since 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, will also be discontinued.

The other eleven services are run by other operators, such as SBS Transit and Tower Transit.

Prior to Covid-19, the NightRider services (NR1, NR2, NR3, NR5, NR6 and NR8) operated from 11.30pm to 2am on Fridays, Saturdays and the eve of public holidays. 

They connected the city and major housing estates during the after-hours, when normal bus services and the MRT do not operate.

With the discontinuation of the NightRider services, commuters will have to commute via taxis or private-hire cars.

Miss Rachel Sim, 31, was disappointed with the announcement as the NightRider services are a low-cost option for her to get home after a night out.

The manager of a retail store said: "With alcohol restrictions being lifted, I was hoping that the services would continue. I would normally walk to Boat Quay after drinking at Clarke Quay to take Service NR3 back to my place in Choa Chu Kang.

"It's unfortunate that my cheaper mode of transport will no longer be available, and I have to take a cab back."

Madam Deepa, 49, was also upset with the announcement. The accountant, who goes by only one name, said: "There are days when I finish work after 11pm, and I would walk from my office at Millenia Tower to Marina Centre Terminal to take Service NR8 back home to Bukit Batok.

"Now that the service is being discontinued, I have to take a cab back, which is quite expensive."

A Land Transport Authority (LTA) spokesman said the decision to withdraw these bus services comes after carefully evaluating factors such as ridership, availability of alternatives, financial prudence and freeing up finite resources.

"Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the demand for these bus services has been low and there are alternatives available to commuters," she added.

LTA will closely monitor the ridership of the alternatives and make adjustments where necessary to ensure there is sufficient capacity for commuters.

The first NightRider service, NR1, was introduced on March 10, 2000, by Trans-Island Bus Services (Tibs), the predecessor of SMRT Buses.

The first NightRider service, NR1, was introduced in 2000. PHOTO: ST FILE

The success of its first overnight route led Tibs to introduce more overnight routes, many of which saw insufficient demand and were subsequently withdrawn. As of 2020, there are six NightRider services left.

The fare for NightRider services was $4.50 per trip, regardless of payment by cash or ez-link card.

NightRider commuters who paid by ez-link card could enjoy a free transfer to another NightRider service within a stipulated timeframe of 45 minutes.

This was not applicable when transferring from an ordinary service to a NightRider service, or for concessionary travel.

Correction note: This story has been edited for clarity.

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