How bus rides in Singapore used to be like during the 1990s


Last Updated on 2017-11-10 , 3:50 pm

Nowadays, when a bus comes, everyone rushes towards it and squeezes into the packed air-conditioned bus. They tap their EZ-link without even looking at the scanner. Some jokers, who have their earphones on, sit on the bus stop seat, crushing candies on their phones and completely unaware that their bus has arrived.

Eventually, the bus moves off with six people cursing their luck for not being able to squeeze in. They then post rants online, targeting the authorities, the bus companies and of course, the Government.

But 1994; oh, 1994 is way different, I’m telling you. If you’re too young to have experienced bus rides in the past, here are what we had to go through!

We insert farecards into a machine and have to manually select how long we would be on the bus
And if you’re thinking that there was a loophole in this system (everyone can just select the shortest time and stay on the bus longer), well, there was. People just pressed the first button and a one-hour ride would be merely…60 cents or so? Lagi best, right?

P.S. I never get to experience this as I was still using a children farecard then. Now, I feel young 😉

We would rather not board a bus without air-con
Really. When a bus came and it was not air-conditioned, we would just wait for the next bus. Not that the next bus would come immediately; it’s that we used to have more free time, and we used to have friends with us then.

We have to fight for “wind” by pushing the windowpane away
Because some buses have got no air-con, the only respite from the merciless Singapore weather is the wind. In order to feel like you’re in a convertible, you have to push the windowpane away; that meant people behind or in front of you would have a windowpane that blocked the wind.
Good old days when quarrels were all about windows and not about race.

We adjust the blower on the ceiling the moment we sat down
Because some of us like the blower, while some didn’t want his or her hair to be messed up. But sometimes, it was because the blower was spewing hot air instead as there were then good and bad bus blowers. Wait…did someone say that bus blowers have another meaning? From…urban dictionary? Huh?

Bus bells made sounds that sounded like a…bell
Or a buzz. Or whatever the hell it was. It was not a chime, and it sure woke many people up. I remember having a good dream when suddenly…I woke up because someone had just pressed the damn bell.

Since you’re here, why not watch a video about an NTU student who went all out to impress his crush, only to end up in…tragedy? Here, watch it and do remember to share it (and also subscribe to Goody Feed YouTube channel)!


This article was first published on in 2014 and revised on 9 November 2017.