This article is contributed by Ling.
Here’s a test: how well do you know Singapore’s buses?
We’ve recently spoken to a bus enthusiast and got him to spill the beans about everything we didn’t know about buses in Singapore!
Here are 7 top-secret facts about Singapore buses most Singaporeans wouldn’t know.
1. When was the last non-air-conditioned and first air-conditioned bus in Singapore?
“You’d be surprised to know that non-air-conditioned buses were only phased out recently. The last set of non-air-con buses last operated in 2013 around Jurong and Tuas area.
“As for air-conditioned buses, they were first brought into Singapore in 1982 and were officially deployed on the roads in 1984.
“Bus 168 between Ang Mo Kio and Orchard Rd was the first service to offer a cool environment for commuters!”
2. What do bus conductors do nowadays since they no longer collect tickets?
If you’re old enough, you’ll remember the scary bus conductors.
“Bus conductors in Singapore used to focus on selling bus tickets and ensure commuters do not ‘cheat’ the system by travelling beyond what their fare entitles them to!
“When bus companies later switched to the self-service ticketing machine, bus conductors were redeployed to fulfil other roles.
“Some became ticket inspectors who conduct random checks to make sure passengers paid the right fare! Others became traffic inspectors, timekeepers, schedulers or even coin counting aunties!”
3. What happens when a bus captain urgently needs to use the toilet when he’s driving?
“By right, bus captains need to complete the entire trip before answering the call of nature at the bus terminal. But if they really cannot tahan, they just have to stop their vehicle safely by the kerb and run off to the nearest toilet!”
We do hope that our Traffic Police officers can pang chance if they come across our buses on the side of the road.
Sometimes they have to bear with physical discomforts for a few hours consecutively on longer routes. No one wants to experience stomachache.
4. What do bus companies do with old buses?
“Our public buses tend to be scrapped after being on the roads for 17 years. A few buses did find a second life in the UK, Hong Kong and Australia, which, as you’ve guessed, are territories adopting the Right-Hand-Drive traffic system! How cool is that?”
5. How many bus captains are there in Singapore and how many are female?
“There are over 10,000 bus captains operating a fleet of more than 5,000 buses in Singapore. While we do not hold exact figures, you can trust us when we say there are around 300 female bus captains here. So, be glad and feel lucky when you spot one of them captainin’ your ride!”
6. What do bus captains do when they spot a suspicious article in the bus?
“Bus captains would assess if they are dealing with what is considered an H.O.T. (Hidden, Obvious & Typical) item. If the item is suspicious, they will then have to evacuate passengers onboard, first to a safe location then preferably on board another bus for them to continue their journey.
“They will then call the Police and also their Operations Command Centre (OCC) to make arrangements to neutralise the threat.”
7. What is the one coolest thing that exists in buses that people don’t notice?
“Tower Transit has been progressively installing scent-emitting devices on its buses. The scent used in these buses are specially curated to reflect Tower Transit’s values of being an innovative and customer-oriented company.
“So the next time you board a green bus with the White Tower Transit logo, remember to catch a whiff of our signature scent!”
Sometimes it really takes an insider to help us see things that we don’t usually see from our perspective!
Alan Neo who currently works at Tower Transit as a Scheduling Manager. He considers himself a bus enthusiast and has chalked up years of experience working in SBS Transit, SMRT, LTA, and also Kowloon Motor Bus in Hong Kong.
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