I remembered my father once told me that Singapore had a few bus companies before SBS comes about in the 70s. Remember STC, Hock Lee or ABS? Perhaps they were known for their colours! I did a small insignificant research on buses plying Queenstown in the late 60s and 70s and realised that some of routes continued to this very moment.
Remember ABS (Red Bus) No.2? It plied from Commonwealth Avenue to Changi Village! How about ABS (Red Bus) No. 12 from Margaret Drive to Simpang Bedok or ABS (Red Bus) No. 13 from Commonwealth Avenue to Orcahrd Road. A look down the list of buses and you can see many, many familiar routes such as ABS (Red Bus) No.20, 84, 103, 111, 144, 147 ABC (Blue Bus) No. 21, 22, 32, 90, 122, 148, 192, 193, 198. UBC (Yellow Bus) No.64, 93, 112, 153.
Yes, 111 still plies the same route as 40 years ago although the rationalisation of buses took place in 2003 due to the construction of North East Line shortened it quite a bit! 147 too! Just that it was extended to Hougang today!
A Singapore Tramway Company Limited Bus
Recently, the news of dividing the long haul bus services had not gone particularly well to Queenstown residents who had been using them for many, many years. Transportation and communication is one aspect that is peculiar to each individual and one blanket policy is going to solve the problem in one household and cause unnecessary trouble in the other. Today, MyQueenstown went to buzz around the estate and investigate how the public feels towards the impending fate of long haul buses in our estate.
Currently, SBS Transit No. 51 plies between Jurong East to Hougang via Queenstown is the longest bus route in Singapore that requires 2 hours 6 minutes (non-peak), 61 and 147 are routes that are more likely to face the "bulldozer approach."
One resident, Raymond Tan, pointed out, "Well, personally I am a retiree and do not travel so frequently as compared to people who are either working or studying. I would travel once in a while on buses such as 51 to Geylang in search for good food. Even then, I can foresee the problem whereby people who commute long distances daily would definitely have to pay much higher transport fees as they need to transfer buses. However, I also think that people who travel short stances would like the new bus routes since the bus frequencies would increase."
Another resident Miss Wendy feels that the replacement of these bus routes would definitely affect her greatly. She travels to and fro. 3-4 times per week on long bus trips. She feels that it would cost her a lot more if these bus routes are replaced. She said that she prefers taking buses over MRT as buses would generally take her nearer to her destination.
Mr Wang, a cleaning supervisor in New Town Primary School, said that it was not a big problem for him as he lives in Strathmore and only take short bus rides. He has a wide range of alternative public transport.
Mr Wang, a resident in Strathmore
There are many reasons why residents or friends of Queenstown took long haul buses like 51, 61 or 147. Some took it to Alexandra Hospital because the shuttle bus is slow while others took 147 to Stirling View/Jalan Bukit Merah. Generally, in our poll of 50 residents and friends during our 2 hours hunt at bus stops opposite Commonwealth and Queenstown MRT, 43 of the residents are not overtly concerned with the changes but expressed fears over the impending price adjustments.
MyQueenstown, on the other hand, would like to propose on the possibility of establishing branch lines, that is, short trips on specific routes of the service that have high possibly of having jams. That means empty buses would station there (in case) there is jams. This was done to SMRT Bus 190, where additional empty buses will station along Scotts/Orchard Road during peak hours so that they can carry passengers upon complains of insufficient buses or long waiting times.
Bus Stop outside Queenstown MRT
An empty bus stop during non-peak hour
A crowded one during peak hours
"Will I Say Goodbye to Queenstown one day?"