Archive for March, 2013

Lost bus terminus – Jalan Kolam Ayer

March 27, 2013

Kolam Ayer was once a kampong area. Jalan Kolam Ayer was one of the seven roads that meets at a junction where daily peak hour traffic jams occurred. The other roads are : MacPherson Road, Bendemeer Road, Serangoon Road, Jalan Toa Payoh, Upper Serangoon Road and Alkaff Avenue. Jalan Kolam Ayer leads to a dead end, not far from the junction. Only one STC bus service terminates here : STC route 7 from Jalan Kolam Ayer to Shenton Way. After the 1971 bus re-organisation, route 7 became route 94. Instead of ending at Shenton Way, STC route 94 was extended to terminate at Ulu Pandan Road.
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Route 94 was passed on to Associated Bus Service when STC went bankrupt. The route eventually ended up with SBS.
Jalan Kolam Ayer no longer exists, it became part of Pan Island Expressway :
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Abang and adik

March 20, 2013

My interest in Malaysian buses started when I was a kid in the 1970s. The currency exchange rate back then was one ringgit to ninety Singapore cents. This went on for a number of years after both the country’s currencies when their separate ways. To show who is the ‘abang’ and who is the ‘adik’, the Malaysian government squandered a lot of their foreign reserve to maintain that rate. The ringgit must be bigger than the Singapore dollar. Stupid politicians with their very foolish pride. The result was that at every school holiday, lots of Malaysians will cross the causeway to spend their holidays in Singapore. The hawker centre near my house was a very popular place for these Malaysian tourists to take breakfast. Long line of Malaysian buses will line the entire road every morning.
Back then, cross border travel was very unsophiscated. Non aircon bas persiaran, bas sekolah and stage buses such as these were used:

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Amongst the stage buses used were Sri Jaya, North West Johore, Selangor Omnibus, Muar Motor Bus, Reliance, Kinta Omnibus, Red Omnibus, United Traction, Lian Hoe, Batang, MOS, Pahang Lin Siong, etc
Aircon coaches were rare. Only a few companies uses aircon coaches, one of them was Penang Yellow Bus.

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Route 162

March 13, 2013

During the bus re-organisation in 1971, UBC operated route 162 from Crawford Street to Nee Soon Transit Camp. Back in those days, security was quite lax, public buses entering military camp were common, besides Nee Soon Camp, the others were Changi Camp and Seletar Camp. The public taking those buses need not even disembark to exchange for security pass. The military police stationed at the gates usually just board the bus, take a look and wave the driver through. This is an old map of the camp, unfortunately the scale of the two halves are not the same, merging them into one map is impossible :

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The red arrows traced the route of route 162 with lots of twists, U-turns and back tracking.
I was very curious of Nee Soon Camp, the roads inside had names called The Loop, Mount Road, Cliff Road, Crest Road, Valley Road. It conjures up a scenic mountainous terrain with nice scenery. The camp was built by the British military before World War II. An old archive photo showing a parade square, the same parade square which later became the 2nd Bn SBMT :

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As a kid back then, I did not had the opportunity to joy ride on route 162. Little did I know that years later, I was to spend almost two years of my army life there.
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By the time I was posted to Nee Soon Camp, UBC had merged with all the other bus companies to form SBS and route 162 was withdrawn. I had plenty of opportunities to explore the entire camp. The terrain in the camp was indeed hilly, dotted with bungalows for the married ex-British troops. It was a well equipped camp with a kindergarten, swimming pool, NAAFI supermarket, church and a small mosque.
School of Basic Military Training occupies the 2 big parade square and the surrounding barracks.
Of interest was The Loop. This dual lane road follows the contour of the terrain making a loop with a deep gully in the middle. To create a short cut from one side to the other, a wooden bridge was built at the narrowest point. The bridge looks like this one at Gillman Barracks off Alexandra Road :
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Troops crossing the bridge had to break steps and walk across so as to prevent the bridge from collapsing from the vibrations of marching footsteps.
One interesting building in the camp was the officer’s mess. It was a big grand building built on top of a small hill and it was nicknamed the White House, the walls were all painted white.
This is the Google map of the camp today :
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It was completely rebuilt. The Loop, number of the roads and the gully with the wooden bridge no longer exists. I am not sure whether the White House still exist.

Acknowledgement : Old photo from National Archives Singapore

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The last survivor

March 6, 2013

When Jurong interchange went into operation in 1978, residents living in the nearby Taman Jurong housing estates has to made two bus trips to get to their work place in Jurong Industrial estate. The first trip is a feeder bus to the interchange followed by another feeder bus to the factory. As some of these factories are located near to the interchange, it became very inconvenient and a lot of time was wasted. As a result, SBS started another set of peak hour feeder services which starts from Boon Lay Garden terminal instead of Jurong Interchange :
247A Jurong Pier Road
249A Jalan Samulun
250A Sixth Lokyang Road
251A Refinery Road
Taman Jurong residents can take these buses to their destination without having to change buses at the interchange. The services were later handed over to Scheme B bus operators. Of the four services, only 249A remains. The other three services were withdrawn due to poor passenger loadings. In 1997, all Scheme B bus routes were re-number into 6XX, 249A became 623.
The last and the only one bus on the Scheme B industrial service at Boon Lay Garden :
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No information on the frequency and hours of operation available. Only all the loyal die hard regular passengers know when this bus operates.
The bus terminal for these XXXA services still exists and is currently used in the morning by Scheme B service 625 :
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An old bus stop pole at Boon Lay with the faded service numbers before replacement by LTA :
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