Archive for July, 2013

Singapore Shuttle Bus

July 31, 2013

31 March 2007 is the last day of operation of city shuttle service operated by Singapore Shuttle Bus :
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The Singapore Shuttle Bus company was formed as the result of the Restricted Zone and Park & Ride scheme to ease traffic conjestion in the central business district. The company started out with six routes. The other three routes were operated by NTUC Comfort. Due to poor ridership, the routes stopped operating one by one until the last remaining service 608. A number plate of the last service displayed on the side of a SSB bus :
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All the buses were transferred to SMRT Bus and eventually scrapped when their life span is up. Six years later, the last remaining trace of Singapore Shuttle Bus were removed. This used to be the office of SSB at Geylang Lorong 1:
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The building was elected in 1975 :
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Geylang Lorong 1 fringe carpark is the depot for SSB buses since the first day of city shuttle service operation :
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The office building was demolished to make way for road widening :
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All that remains now is the remnants of the fueling station which will soon be demolished as well :
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The parking lots used by SSB buses is just an empty space, utilized by SMRT Bus and Bus Plus :
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Acknowledgement : Old bus photo from National Archives Singapore

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Memories of bus rides – motor-mouth

July 24, 2013

Being a poor bloke, for the early part of my working life, I have to take public transport everyday to go to work. There was no MRT, it was an all bus journey involving taking a trunk service to Jurong Interchange followed by a feeder service. The total time is one and a half hours one way. This is a scene of the daily occurrence at Jurong Interchange :

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Everyday I have to battle my way to find the queue for feeder service 245. The place is so messy, sometimes I don’t know where is the start and end of the queue.
One of the driver of route 245 has a queer habit. He can’t stop talking. He would go on and on and on and on..…yak, yak, yak, yak…..talking to anybody, somebody and sometimes nobody about anything and everything under the sun. Some of the amused passengers will banter with him, most of them just ignore him and let him talk to himself. Once someone talk to him about the bus he is driving and he went on to talk about one of his colleague who is so crazy about the bus SBS assigned to him that he practically polished and clean the bus inside and outside everyday. And if this bus crazy driver is absent and that bus was assigned to another driver, that stand-in driver would get a good scolding from this bus crazy driver for messing up “his” bus. One day the bus crazy driver fell ill and died. Every driver assigned to that particular bus fell sick after driving. Eventually the rumours went around that the bus was haunted by the bus crazy driver and nobody would want to drive that bus. The company had to get a Toaist priest to exorcise that bus. True or not, I don’t know. It was one of the more interesting story I heard while riding on the bus driven by that motor-mouth.

Acknowledgement : Old bus photo from National Archives Singapore

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Jurong interchange

July 17, 2013

This is Singapore’s first bus interchange built at the junction of Jalan Ahmad Ibrahim and Jurong Port Road at a cost of $1.2 million. This is a view of the interchange from Jalan Ahamad Ibrahim with Jurong Port Road on the left :
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View of the passenger concourse :
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The interchange had two building and parking lots for 90 buses. One building is the terminal building which houses the passenger concourse on the ground level and a canteen on the first floor with seating for 120 people. The passenger concourse has 12 berths for boarding and alighting and can accomodate up to 2400 passengers at one time.
The other building has a small office and bays for minor repairs and refueling.
The buses on various external routes will terminate at this interchange. Passengers will then transfer to feeder services and continue their journey to various parts of Jurong Industrial Estate.
This is the initial layout of the interchange with boarding bays allocated to various bus routes including Scheme B services:
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The interchange went into operation on 1st of June. A new set of 14 feeder services commenced operation with 4 serving the residential neighbourhoods of Taman Jurong and 10 serving the industrial areas. Fares were 10 cents for residential and 20 cents for industrial sectors. A total of 285 buses will be used for feeder and external services. Additional 4 services were introduced on weekends and holidays to Science Centre, Bird Park, Chinese/Japanese Gardens and SAFTI.
One the first day of operation, hundreds of residents and workers were unfamiliar with the feeder services resulting in massive jams and many of them were late for work.
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Waiting time ranged from 45 mins to one hour and most of the feeder buses were packed to capacity. Some frustrated passengers resorted to walking to their place of work instead of taking feeder buses. Things began to improve as the week went on. The interchange was later further expanded to ease the peak hour jam. The expanded interchange made used of the space previously occupied by the service and refueling area :
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Jurong interchange remained as one of the busiest bus interchange until it was closed and moved to Boon Lay.
The place is now used by some company as a storage yard. This is the former entrance at Jurong Port Road, also currently the entrance to the storage yard :
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This is the interchange exit at the Jalan Ahmad Ibrahim side :
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Acknowledgement : Photos from National Archives Singapore

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Cranes

July 10, 2013

Passed by some junkyards and surprised to find this crane still in use :
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This is a Austin K6 3ton 6X6 crane which once was the industry standard in the 1950s – 70s before they were replaced by Japanese Katos and Tadanos :
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I did not managed to get a shot from the side as the gate was locked and there were wild dogs roaming about. This is a sketch :
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The back part of the driver’s cab was cut away. To operate the crane the operator has to reverse the driver seat and face the rear. The levers and controls were located immediately behind the driver’s cab.
A crane needs a stable platform to work. Unlike new cranes where outriggers can be deployed hydraulically from the crane cab to provide a stabile platform, for these ancient machines, everything had to done manually. The operator drag the four outriggers out and then first swing the boom to one side, the crane will tilted one side. Blocks of wood were placed under the first set of outriggers 3 & 4 :
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Next he swing the boom to the other side and the crane tilt the other side. In the same manner, the operator slot blocks of woods under the set of outriggers 1 & 2 :
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After this is done, the crane is now ready for operation with the operator seated in the driver’s cab facing the rear operating the levers :
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After lifting operation were completed, the operator repeats the same operation of swinging the boom to one side then the other to remove the wooden blocks. The wooden blocks were stored in the crane compartments.
Besides the Austin K6, the other similar type of cranes used during that period are these :
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The rear looks that same as the Austin K6. The front is shorter. The design is called CMP which stands for Canadian Military Pattern. These type of trucks are manufactured in Canada for the British during second world war. The Canadian government sub-contract it to Chevrolet (division of General Motor) and Ford Canada to build these trucks. I am not sure of the ones used as cranes locally are powered by GM or Ford.

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Memories of bus rides – critters!

July 3, 2013

Every time I saw a picture of this type of bus, it reminds me of an incident in the 1990s :

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I was working late and I took a service 92 bus. The bus fleet of service 92 comprised of all Hawke bodied Mercedes OF1417s. It was quite late and the bus was empty save for me and three other passengers sitting at the front half of the bus. I went to the back of the bus and chose the seats over the wheel arch. The seat over the wheel arch are back facing, so there was a lot of room for me to stretch my legs.
As the journey went on, I started to notice that there were lots of cockroaches running around, on the floor, sides and some on the seats. There were so many of them. For those people who were terrified of these hideous creatures, the bus ride will certainly be a near-death experience.
As one came near me I step on it. Darn! Missed. It scurried away. The next one came, squeesh! Gotcha, flatten it. All the body juice and innards splattered on the floor. I thought to myself, this would scare the rest of them and they would not come near and bother me. After sometime, I took my eyes off the floor and look outside the bus. When I take a look on the floor again, to my horror, there were three other cockroaches hungrily feasting on the dead one. Disgusting! Stomp! Stomp! Die critters, die!

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Those people seating at the front were wondering what is this crazy guy is doing at the back of the bus! Final body count before I alighted : three roach pancakes, two near miss.

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