When I was going to NTU for a talk, I chanced upon a glimpse of an old SBS Transit bus while from the MRT. It suddenly hit me that Boon Lay is the only place left where old buses still ply the roads, and I wanted to ride in one of them before they were gone.
So this chance came and after the talk was over, I returned to the bus interchange and hunted around for services still using the old bus. I noted that there were no single-deck non air-conditioned buses around, which left me somewhat disappointed. I had been planning to wait for the 255 but then a 254 pulled up instead, thus I gave it a shot.
The first thing that hit me was the heat. “Hot-dog’ [the nickname of this bus] was an understatement–it was a sauna. Instead of cold air, you feel like you’re in an oven. Words cannot describe the feeling when you feel every drop of sweat coming out from your skin and the fumes from the interchange. It would be a test of one’s mental strength to survive this bus journey when you are packed like sardines..
1994-1995 Volvo Olympian with Walter Alexander Royale bodywork
Oh and did I mention sliding windows? They are seriously cool to play with, especially when they are a rarity today. This wasn’t the first time I saw buses with such windows [SMRT buses once had it] but being able to open and close it was an enjoyment in itself [For the SMRT buses, these windows were always jammed except on 2 occasions, but I ended up being told off by the driver. :/]. I really pity the passengers when it starts to rain!
It is obvious that these buses are shorter than the ones we see on the roads [given that there are 4 wheels instead of 6], making them stand out even more. Sadly, all 39 of them are to be de-registered from April onwards, so try to cherish the moment–it remains unforgettable for me even though I alighted after 1 stop. Personally, I feel these bus companies should set up a museum storing all the older models, even allowing one or two to continue travelling on the roads–it’s part of our heritage after all!
~~Time to say goodbye, and it was great serving you.~~