SMRT launches second bus service duplicating MRT line November 5, 2010Posted by hafizbam in Bus, Premium Bus, SMRT, Something New.
Tags: bukit batok, SMRT Express bus, Suntec City
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Following SBS Transit’s service 128 (Yio Chu Kang to Shenton Way), SMRT introduced the second MRT-duplicating bus service in the form of Express service 868. Similar to most Premium bus services, Express 868 runs only in a one-directional route from Bukit Gombak to Suntec City on weekday mornings.
There are currently two trips, with buses departing the bus stop outside Blk 347 along Bukit Batok West Avenue 5 at 7:30 and 7:45 AM, bypassing the Bukit Batok Polyclinic and Toh Guan Road enroute before hitting the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE) to get to Robinson Road one hour later.
Loads from Bukit Batok during the first month of operation have been light, with majority of the passengers boarding from Toh Guan estate instead. With Express 868, residents of Toh Guan now have two options to get to the CBD, with SBS Transit’s Premium 543 being the other. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if most of them have migrated over from 543 to 868, given that both head to the same destination but with 868 charging a significantly cheaper Express fare!
Buses for Express 868 come under the purview of SMRT’s Kranji Depot.
Next stop: 3 more SMRT Xchanges November 1, 2009Posted by hafizbam in Miscellaneous, SMRT, Something New.
Tags: circle line, Esplanade Xchange, Ion Orchard, Jurong East Xchange, Orchard Road, Raffles City, shopping mall, SMRT Xchange, Suntec City
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ESPLANADE MRT STATION TO HOUSE 40 RETAIL OUTLETS
Commuters will get more than connectivity when the train pulls in at the Esplanade MRT station.
Scheduled to open next year as part of the Circle Line Stage 1, the station will boast a shopping area called Esplanade Xchange.
There are similar shopping areas at Raffles Place and Dhoby Ghaut stations, with the most recent opened at Choa Chu Kang in January last year.
The Esplanade station will house about 40 shops spread across 2,000 sq m – or slightly less than half a football field – of retail space.
SMRT said it aims to have a good mix of retail and food and beverage shops.
The station, with a floor area of 19,000 sq m, is the largest of all the Circle Line stations.
It will have four entrances: at Suntec City; One Raffles Link; the War Memorial Park; and the former Singapore Armed Forces Non-Commissioned Officers Club.
There will also be three underpasses, linking commuters to Raffles City, Marina Square and One Raffles Link.
SMRT is marketing the retail space and will call for tenders later this year.
But Singapore Polytechnic retail management lecturer Sarah Lim said retailers will find it “quite challenging” to draw the crowds unless they can “provide something completely different” like unique food or retail offerings.
They may also need to position themselves as a niche shopping area like the Heeren, which caters to the younger shoppers.
“Their main competition will be the Orchard Road area where the buzz is very strong with new mall offerings and a number of buildings being upgraded,” she added.
While noting that there will be constant human traffic in the area, she pointed out that Raffles City and Suntec City are already established malls.
Without proper “positioning and branding”, the Esplanade Xchange could just become a thoroughfare for people heading to shops in these other malls.
SMRT said there are plans for 700 sq m of shops at some of the 10 other Circle Line stations opening next year, including the Bras Basah, Promenade, Nicoll Highway, Stadium and Paya Lebar stations.
Since Ms Saw Phaik Hwa became SMRT’s chief executive in 2002, she has pushed hard to make good use of its space in stations for retail purposes.
For its first quarter ended June 30, SMRT’s operating profit for retail space grew by 12.9 per cent to $12.5 million.
– The Straits Times, Home, page B2, Thursday October 1 2009
And Esplanade Xchange will not be the only new Xchange along Singapore’s premier shopping belt. Orchard MRT station – which has long been suffering under the construction work for the new ION Orchard shopping mall – will soon be home to a new Orchard Xchange, though slightly smaller at 1,600 sq m.
The lack of commercial spaces in Jurong East Central (the nearest established mall now is IMM which is quite a distance away) will be addressed with the MRT station’s refurbishment into Jurong East Xchange. Taking into account the current open space in front of Popular Bookstore, it is not surprising that the whole area can be converted into a more productive 2,500 sq m worth of retail space.
SMRT has also just opened up its retail spaces in Esplanade Xchange for tender. And they have apparently learnt their lessons well from the Dhoxy Xchange experience. At least half the space available in Esplanade Xchange has been set aside for food and beverage, with six bigger units offering alfresco seating areas. The others will be for smaller take-away food stalls. It goes without saying that food stalls tend to fare better than retail, especially when the mall takes up the less busy areas of the MRT station as in the case for Dhoby Xchange.
However, it is highly unlikely that Esplanade Xchange will flop the way of Dhoby XChange. Given that it is blessed to be connected with so many busy buildings nearby, it should in fact be just as successful as Raffles Xchange with its constant flow of shoppers. Never mind that many would probably be just using the station as a bypass to their intended destinations.
And if you dig deeper into the company, you would have found out that there are already plans for even more commercial spaces to be developed in existing stations, including Woodlands. But whether or not another Xchange will emerge remains to be seen.
What matters most from all this though, is that both parties stand to gain. SMRT’s rental earnings would definitely continue to skyrocket, while the typical commuter now has more retail options even while on the move.
Even rival SBS Transit has not stood still. It has actively refurbished its larger bus interchanges such as Jurong East and Eunos to include new retail spaces. There is even a McDonald’s dessert kiosk at Hougang Central interchange. But its ability to develop retail spaces is limited, as the company does not operate any above-ground train stations with bigger spaces to experiment with. Almost all the remaining available spaces in its Northeast Line MRT stations have also been crafted out into shop units.
Even smaller bus interchanges have not escaped this ‘commercialisation of space’. Pushcarts and event space are always taken up by smaller retailers and entrepreneurs on short-term leases, squeezing into any possible space that is not obstructing commuter flow. While having the fruit seller at the bus interchange gives commuters the convenience of buying some last minute takeaways, it is an entirely different story if one is constantly approached by overzealous insurance company agents out to grab every single potential customer.
That is when you would really feel like grabbing a fruit and throwing it at the one approaching you with his wide smile.
Travel Malaysia Fair 2009 October 17, 2009Posted by hafizbam in Bus, Express Coach, Miscellaneous, Transport Events.
Tags: EBAA, express bus agency association, five stars tours, hasry singapore, konsortium express & tours, lapan lapan travel, luxury tours & travel, malaysia tourism, regent star travel, sri maju tours & travel, Suntec City, Transtar Travel, travel malaysia fair, WTS travel & tours
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What: Travel Malaysia Fair 2009 (includes display of 8 express bus coaches) – admission is free!
When: 16 to 18 October 2009, Friday to Sunday; 1000 to 2130 hours
Where: Suntec Singapore Convention Centre Hall 404
How: By train: Alight at City Hall station and walk through CityLink Mall or take the free shuttle bus from the bus stop at Coleman Street. By bus: 10, 10e, 14, 16, 36, 70, 70M, 97, 106, 107M, 111, 133, 162M, 196, 196e, 502, 518, 531, 541, 546, 547, 597, 700A, 857, NR1
Express Bus Agencies Association (EBAA) is pleased to present once again our annual edition of Travel Malaysia 2009 travel fair to be held on 16th – 18th October 2009 at Hall 404, Suntec Convention Centre. The three days event will be the largest and most comprehensive tourism exhibition on Malaysia as a favourite destination for the year end holidays. The three days event is expected to draw a crowd turnout of about 30,000.
In cooperation with Tourism Malaysia, the main highlights of the event are the State Pavilions where the various states of Malaysia flaunt a unique mélange of attractions and holiday destinations as well as a multitude of special products. The fair will also showcase and display the state of the art and most up to date exclusive express bus and coaches by EBAA member companies.
Travel Malaysia 2009 is supported by Malaysia Tourism Promotional Board (MTPB) as the Title Sponsor and is co-sponsored by AIG, Genting International, Awana Resort, OCBC Bank and Star Cruises. Travel Malaysia 2009 includes key exhibitors from the tour and travel industries, hotel and resort, theme park, golf and recreation resorts, service provider of transport, travel agents, eco tourism, property investment, health tourism, shopping, entertainment, adventure holidays and NTOs from Malaysia.
A total of 85 exhibitors occupying a floor area of 4,000 sqm comprising 133 booths and display of 8 premium express buses will be put up for the event. Of these 133 booths, 60 booths were allocated to Tourism Malaysia HQ for their exhibitors by the respective state tourism boards.
Members of the EBAA include Transtar Travel, Five Stars Tours, Lapan Lapan Travel, Sri Maju Tours & Travel, Regent Star Travel, Konsortium Express & Tours, Luxury Tours & Travel, WTS Travel & Tours and Hasry Singapore. Something that might be interesting to note – both SMRT Bus Plus and ComfortDelGro Bus are associate members of this grouping as well.
Additional trip for SMRT Premium 531 October 4, 2009Posted by hafizbam in Premium Bus, SMRT.
Tags: bedok, Premium Bus, shenton way, simei, SMRT 531, Suntec City, upper east coast
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Singapore’s most successful premium bus service to date – SMRT’s route 531 – is set to gain yet another trip during the weekday morning peak period. Six buses will now start their trips from Simei Road between 0745 and 0810 hours at a frequency of 4 to 8 minutes, ferrying commuters to their offices in Suntec City and Shenton Way.
While demand has certainly been good (and maybe even increasing) in the mornings, the two return trips in the evenings will see no change. Then again, Premium 531 is still one of only a handful of premium bus services here to even have evening return journeys.
Click here for the press release.
SBST iris NextBus during F1 race road closures September 9, 2009Posted by hafizbam in SBS Transit, Transport Events.
Tags: F1 night race, Formula 1 race, iris NextBus, Marina Bay, SBS Transit, Suntec City
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Good news for both car owners and public transport commuters. This year, there will less road closures in the vicinity of Suntec City/Marina Bay during the much anticipated Formula 1 night race later this month, though it is expected that bus services into Suntec City would most likely be diverted away from the area as per last year.
While the diversion and closure plans have yet to be released, bus operator SBS Transit has already announced the temporary suspension of its real-time bus arrival information facility during the F1 period.
The press release as follows:
Due to the F1 race road closures, 27 basic bus services – 10, 10e, 14, 14e, 16, 36, 56, 57, 70, 70M, 97, 97e, 100, 107, 107M, 111, 128, 130, 131, 133, 162, 162M, 195, 196, 196e, 502, 518 – as well as Nite Owl and Premium Services – will be affected. iris NextBus will not be available for these affected services from 23 to 28 September 2009.
iris NextBus users who send SMSes for any of the affected services during this period will receive an SMS to inform them that there is no bus arrival information. The incoming SMS will not be charged.