Over the years, Golden Mile has rightly earned its name as a “general bus station” as it serves as a gathering point for eight express-bus operators. Anyone who wishes to take a coach to Malaysia can easily head over to the mall to purchase a ticket.
This reputation that Golden Mile boasts is a successful culmination of hard work and collaboration, nearly 50 years into its making.
When Shin Min Daily News interviewed the affected express-bus operators, they were all worried that they wouldn’t be able to find a gathering point like Golden Mile in the future, which would inevitably cause their business to suffer, and passengers would face some inconveniences too.
The Worries of Coach Companies
In a joint statement, Perennial, Sino Land, and Far East Organisation announced yesterday (8 May) that they have bought the landmark of Beach Road, Golden Mile Complex, for 700 million.
Ye Chusheng, the Head of Marketing Communications and Terminal Service for Express Bus and Excursion Association pointed out that if the express-bus operators fail to find another suitable gathering point after they have dispersed, not only will it negatively impact their business, but the passengers will also face a great deal of inconvenience.
For instance, passengers won’t have the luxury of picking and choosing between different express-bus operators like they can now, nor would their point of boarding and alighting be gathered at the same place.
Mr Ye said, “The Association moved from Golden Mile to Oxley Bizhub earlier on. We’re currently probing whether we can provide the express-bus operators a new location to carry out their business. After conducting preliminary discussions with the beneficiaries, they have shown their support. The new location is also very spacious, and it has enough space for excursion buses to park their vehicles.“
As for Sri Maju, it has owned a storefront in Golden Mile Complex for 41 years.
When Huang Shujiao, the manager of the Singapore branch was interviewed, he responded that the company has been very busy due to the long weekends for the past few weeks, and it hasn’t discussed the issue of relocating yet.
He stated that the company is not in a rush to decide yet, especially since the news has just been released and they’re expected to move out immediately. He estimates that it will only become a real problem after a year or so.
However, Sir Maju promised that they would give more details to the public after they have a discussion with the Association.
Transtar’s Management Director, Ye Chuhui, has worries about the company’s future business prospects after it is forced to move away, because it would be hard to avoid their business from being affected.
Likewise, he asserted that all their passengers are aware that they come to Golden Mile Complex to catch a bus, with an abundance of options to choose from and it’s convenient. However, it’s hard to predict what the future is like, so he hopes that a better course of action can be found.
On the hand, although the sale price of Golden Mile was 100 million lower than its reserve price, many have expressed that it’s the best deal that they could have gotten, since the building was extremely old.
The Fall of Mini Thailand
Besides being a gathering point for many express-bus operators, a lot of old tenants, locals, and foreigners likened Golden Mile to a “Mini Thailand”.
A building like Golden Mile might be ancient in Singapore terms—we have only been independent for 57 years and the building was opened in 1973—but its antiquity comes with loads of history and culture.
For 73-year-old Mrs Cai, she owns and runs a grocery store in Golden Mile, while also maintaining a permanent residence there.
The grocery store has a 49-year-long history as it was passed down from her parents’ generation and it can be said that she has spent half of her lifetime at Golden Mile Complex.
In the future, not only does she have to put an end to the grocery store business, but she also has to find a new place to live.
Of course, she feels quite a bit of reluctance, especially since she spent more than half of her life there.
Although the sale price could have been better, Mrs Cai acknowledges that this building is very old. The fact that someone is willing to buy it, means that it’s best for her to let go and sell it too.
However, Golden Mile has also become a “Mini Thailand” over the past decades, and it’s unlikely that this culture will be preserved.
Aat Suwan, a 32-year mechanical engineer from Thailand, visits Golden Mile complex a few times every month.
When he heard of the changeover, he couldn’t help but feel regretful, because Singapore doesn’t have many places like Golden Mile, where a lot of Thais and shops congregate.
Sure, the products on sale aren’t cheap per se, but its winning charm is how it reminds him a little of home. It’s the same reason why he and his friends frequent Golden Mile for gatherings and meals together.
They don’t know if they’ll have a chance like that again in the future.
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