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Old March 1st, 2004, 08:30 PM   #1
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The General Bus Discussion Thread

Tibs brand to make way for SMRT's

Name and colours will be gradually dropped from company's buses and taxis, completing merger with MRT operator

By Christopher Tan


IF YOU see a Tibs bus, take a good look at it. It may be one of the last times you see that yellow and orange carriage. The name Trans-Island Bus, or Tibs, will be dropped soon. Train operator SMRT Corp, Tibs' parent company, will replace it with its own name and its corporate colours of red, black and grey, completing its 2001 takeover.

Tibs was started by sportsman-entrepreneur Ng Ser Miang in 1982, soon after the Government said it wanted a competitor for giant SBS. It started operations in 1983 with 37 buses plying two services in Yishun and Sembawang. It was a David muscling in on Goliath then, with the company eking out an early existence in cargo containers-turned-offices.

Growth came from the expansion of new Housing Board towns as well as transfers of SBS routes. In 1987, Tibs was publicly listed. When it became part of SMRT, it had about 70 routes, about one-third of SBS'.

The 'merger' followed a call from the Government for transport operators to be 'multi-modal', so as to provide seamless travel. But SMRT chief executive Saw Phaik Hwa said the merger might not have been totally necessary.

At the time of union, though, former SMRT chairman Chew Choon Seng said it was to 'facilitate the meshing of bus and train services, shorten overall travel time, encourage usage of public transport and enhance revenue growth'.

Ms Saw told The Straits Times: 'Logistically, a totally seamless transport system doesn't work... Each time the train comes, it's 1,000-over people getting off. You can't have buses waiting for 1,000-over people. They'd jam up the whole bus stop.'

Realistically, the scenario would be 'get off, wait a few minutes, and get on'. 'That is the model,' she said. 'So being one company or being two companies really doesn't have any material effects.'

So why did SMRT pay $194 million for Tibs? 'I don't know the full rationale behind the acquisition. My priority is now to maximise the situation,' Ms Saw said, explaining that her task is to optimise synergy between the two companies.

And she is pleased that two years after taking over Tibs, integration with SMRT has finally taken place. Backroom operations, such as finance, human resource and information technology, have all been merged.

The final piece to be put in place is the name change, which will affect about 800 Tibs buses and more than 2,000 taxis. But Ms Saw said the change would be done gradually and cost-effectively.
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Old March 2nd, 2004, 08:19 PM   #2
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Crackdown on unlicensed buses between Singapore and Senai Airport

2 March 2004

SINGAPORE : The Singapore government has cracked down on unlicensed buses plying between Singapore and Senai in Malaysia's southern Johor state.

Action was taken Tuesday against two buses shuttling passengers between Lavendar MRT station and the Johor airport.

The buses did not have the necessary licences nor insurance to cover passengers in case of an accident.

It is understood several passengers were on their way to catch AirAsia flights out of Senai Airport.

Both drivers had to give statements.

The unlicensed bus operations are being investigated by the LTA. - CNA
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Old March 10th, 2004, 02:31 PM   #3
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SBS is not increasing the fare this year but SMRT is still considering.
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Old March 10th, 2004, 02:41 PM   #4
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They have a fantastic excuse for increasing fares..."oh because SMS TRansit have higher fares"

My arse. Last time SBS Transit have higher fares was because it was reasoned it was justified to recoup the very high costs of building the line, and that the area is not built-up enough. Has this become an excuse for the other operator to up fares? And if this is so, maybe SBS is now justified to up their fares again rite?

They seem to think we suffer from amnesia.
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Old May 7th, 2004, 05:12 AM   #5
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Mercedes Benz showcases green bus for cleaner environment

Time is GMT + 8 hours
Posted: 06 May 2004 2033 hrs


By Asha Popatlal, Channel NewsAsia


SINGAPORE : Automaker Mercedes Benz has brought into Singapore a 'green' bus that runs on environmentally friendly gas instead of diesel.

The green bus looks like any other bus except that instead of a fuel tank, the bus has gas cylinders on its roof, weighing over 200 kilogrammes.

It meets very strict European emission standards, which will be implemented in Singapore from October 2006.

Singapore is introducing these strict standards to cut down on fine particulate emissions - from diesel buses and taxis.

Ahead of that, Mercedes Benz is showcasing its newest model to authorities and bus operators.

Although the bus is cleaner, it is also more expensive. The green bus is about $120,000 more expensive than a diesel bus. Operating costs are generally also about 30 percent higher.

The public can catch a joy ride along Orchard Road on Saturday from 11am to 3pm from Hyatt Hotel. - CNA
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Old May 8th, 2004, 03:22 PM   #6
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I think this is the bus with a door that has a little thing folding out and touching the road side so that wheelchairs can be wheeled in easily?
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Old May 8th, 2004, 03:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huaiwei
I think this is the bus with a door that has a little thing folding out and touching the road side so that wheelchairs can be wheeled in easily?
Yes that's the one.....
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Old May 10th, 2004, 12:17 PM   #8
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Hey! The new red and white colours on the new SMRT buses look so weird....
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Old May 10th, 2004, 12:23 PM   #9
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smrt bus? got pics?
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Old May 10th, 2004, 12:25 PM   #10
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hmmm doesnt look too bad but might cause confusion with sbs! looks so similar to their old colour scheme.. boring colour anyhow


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Old May 10th, 2004, 12:26 PM   #11
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They should change the interior colours too... otherwise it just looks uber weird...
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Old May 10th, 2004, 12:27 PM   #12
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wait a minute... how come they reverted back to their old logo!
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Old May 10th, 2004, 12:29 PM   #13
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ooh my...




they must have suddenly decided red is sexier... they too must know that red is a more appetising colour? so they can't fine me for eating on train...
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Old May 10th, 2004, 12:30 PM   #14
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I would like to see all-white buses and LRT cars that have that sleek, shiny, synthetic polymer-ish look of Apple iMacs....
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Old May 10th, 2004, 12:34 PM   #15
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white generally doesn't look good on most vehicles (except mercedes) come to perth and you'll know what i mean..

for the newer double deck buses iwth black tinted windows, white MAY work though...

solid colours work best i think but not khaki
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Old May 10th, 2004, 12:41 PM   #16
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How about black? Muahahahaha! Black and white rule!!!!

Ayah... as long as it has that shiny, sleek look, anything goes...
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Old May 10th, 2004, 12:45 PM   #17
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i dont think it's currently feasible to replicate that iMac skin look on a vehicle... but i'd love one!
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Old May 10th, 2004, 12:51 PM   #18
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Yeah... maybe they'll do it if Apple decides to do an advertisement on one of the double deckers..... *ray of hope shines through the dark clouds as E2E beams with euphoric relief*
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Old June 5th, 2004, 03:13 AM   #19
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Loss-making Turf City remaking itself for travellers

JUNE 5, 2004

A terminal for express bus services will be built to cater to 4,000 travellers daily; businesses will meet their needs

By Serene Goh

MEGA mall Turf City is a gamble that has lost its investors more than $1.73 million since it opened in 2001. But wheels are turning to reverse its fortunes.

Turf City Pte Ltd and the Express Bus Agency Association announced a joint venture yesterday to convert about 50,000 sq ft of its 56ha into an overland transport terminal.

'We have a world-class airport and port, so why not a world-class overland terminal?' said Mr Sebastian Yap, chairman of the association, which represents 70 per cent of express bus operators here.

At least eight bus operators have pledged to relocate half their fleets to the new terminal, he said. It is expected to accommodate up to 4,000 travellers a day, with about six coaches coming and going each hour from 6.30am to 11pm.

The plot behind the used-car dealers will be converted into a sheltered carpark for buses, a transit area and docking bays.

Turf City's building (the former Turf Club grandstand) will be redeveloped to house services that cater to travellers, including a ticketing office, waiting lounge and budget-travel outlets.

Coach services to Malaysia and Thailand now use a variety of pick-up and drop-off points, including Golden Mile Complex, Queen Street and Lavender MRT station, where buses dock in parking lots or loading bays.

All these will now be consolidated at Turf City.

Turf City's redevelopment, scheduled to be completed in October, will provide space for 80 retailers, up from 60 now. It will cost the company about $1 million.

Its shareholders had invested $15 million to develop the old Bukit Timah Turf Club into Turf City after the club moved to Kranji in 1999.

The redevelopment is expected to draw more tourists.

Turf City's main shareholders, Singapore Agro Agriculture, and additional individual private investors, have extended their lease on the site and its 760,000 sq ft building for another six years.

They have an option to renew the lease every three years until 2010. Their landlord is the Singapore Land Authority.

Turf City tenants are expected to be told officially about the new terminal by next week. Most tenants' leases are due for renewal soon, the company said.

McDonald's and the hypermart Giant are among the tenants who have already extended their leases.

Giant's spokesman said that its outlet had so far received 'strong support' from regular customers.

Turf City's retail woes are well documented, with vendors complaining that its downmarket image and difficulty of access deter shoppers.

Carnivals, car-boot sales and other promotions haven't drawn many shoppers and The Market Place flea market and The Furniture Mall have since shut.

In March, Courts closed its 11,000 sq ft store there, although it was paying about $3.50 a sq ft, about 60 per cent less than at suburban malls.

Smaller retailers look set to follow suit, with some saying that new plans to capture tourist dollars are too little, too late.

Ms Judy Wong, who sells clothing in Ju-An Gallery on its ground level, is counting the days till her lease ends.

'Most days I get no customers here at all, although when I do road shows elsewhere, the response is good.

'I've paid $4,000 a month for three years, and the landlords have never reduced the rent although times were bad.

'The traffic just doesn't justify what I'm paying. So, no, I don't think a bus terminal will be enough.'

Copyright @ 2004 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.
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Old June 9th, 2004, 05:31 AM   #20
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JUNE 9, 2004
Bus depot plan rejected again
URA turns down appeal by Turf City to use premises as an overland transport terminal, but company to appeal again

By Serene Goh

TURF City's plans to use part of its premises as an overland transport terminal have been halted.

The mega mall's operators, who earlier this year applied to the authorities to convert 4,650 sq m of their 56ha plot for this purpose, were told of the decision on May 15.

But they appealed to officials, including their landlord, the Singapore Land Authority (SLA), which then granted an approval in principle.

That approval hinged on confirmation from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) for the land use. The board replied: No.

In a statement to The Straits Times, it explained: 'The use of the Turf City site for a transport hub is not compatible with the existing residential land use in the area.'

Its spokesman said a location for an overland transport hub was in the works, but not at Turf City.

That's because an injection of an expected 4,000 travellers daily, along with 'a host of bus operators and related activities such as money changers and tour agencies', would hugely increase human and vehicle traffic throughout the day and in the evenings.

Coaches operating late at night would also 'greatly disturb the residents of the area'.

Turf City Pte Ltd, which recently renewed its lease on the land and accompanying Turf City building with the SLA, had planned to complete the terminal by October.

The company, together with coach operator Express Bus Agency Association, publicly announced their joint venture on Friday.

Now, the company's shareholders, including its main stakeholder, Singapore Agro Agriculture, claim the URA has 'missed the point'.

A statement issued by the management denied it was constructing a bus terminal or interchange, but 'merely making use of the existing infrastructure, such as the several thousand excess parking lots' as a transit point for coaches.

It said that Turf City was offered for tender in 2001 for commercial, institutional, sports and recreational uses and as a used-car centre. All these activities would already bring in a high volume of traffic.

It said that Turf City's plans would have brought in tourist dollars and, to ensure compliance with existing traffic laws, the company had 'spent $500,000 on traffic-impact assessment and control measures, including the installation of a traffic junction box outside its leased boundaries'.

Besides, it said, its existing proposal was only 'an interim measure for a limited period'.

'One can only hope that the higher authorities will look into the role of the URA in driving businesses into the ground or moving them to other neighbouring countries,' it added.

Retailers themselves seem unaffected by the tussle. A spokesman for Giant said the hypermart's decision to renew its lease 'was not contingent on the terminal, but was made based on the store's good business and its business plans'.

Another tenant, Mr Michael Ong, who owns the Hiestand chain of 11 Swiss-pastry outlets islandwide, was already in talks to renew his three-year lease on his 11 sq m shop even before news of the depot plan broke.

He said he enjoys a consistent clientele in Turf City on weekends from 'mostly regular customers who are expats', and described the landlords as 'fair and compromising'.

Indeed, those landlords are also determined. Mr Ang Kiong Teng, general manager of Turf City, said the company is not giving up on its plans yet: 'We are still going to continue appealing to the relevant authorities, because we would like to proceed with business.'

Copyright @ 2004 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.
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