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UPDATE: New bus service AC7 from Yishun to JB December 17, 2010

Posted by hafizbam in Bus, Fleet News, Overseas Travels, Premium Bus, Private operators, Something New.
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Following the bus service’s no-show on Wednesday and Thursday which left many confused, Advance Coach has clarified that it could not start operating from Wednesday 15th December as it did not receive approval from the Malaysian authorities earlier in the week as expected. However, the company has since received the relevant approvals and would commence service AC7 from today, Friday 17th December 2010.

They added that bus service AC7 will stop at ALL bus stops along the route, including the pair of bus stops outside Republic Polytechnic along Woodlands Avenue 9. Frequency is at 20 to 30 minutes. As with other cross-border bus services, the bus will wait at the post-immigration clearance bus bays for a reasonable amount of time before proceeding on to Kotaraya or Yishun. For further details, refer to the previous post and newspaper article below:

– Service AC7 will run every half hour from Yishun Interchange to Kotaraya Terminal

by Teo Wan Gek

A new bus service from Yishun to Johor Bahru starts today.

It is the third new cross-border bus route to be introduced this year, as part of a bilateral agreement to increase transit links announced in May.

The new service AC7, from Yishun bus interchange to Kotaraya Terminal in Johor Baru, will benefit Malaysian students and workers who travel daily to Singapore, and Singaporeans on daytrips to JB.

Premier bus operator Advance Coach obtained a permit to run the service from the Malaysian authorities on Wednesday.

Its managing director Neo Tiam Beng, 42, is glad for a chance to diversify his business beyond ferrying schoolchildren and workers within Singapore.

“Thankfully the two prime ministers are on good terms. If not, I would not have this business opportunity,” Mr Neo said.

He has invested some S$2 million in the venture and bought 10 new 44-seater buses.

The service will run every half hour from 5.45am tp 11.30pm. The entire journey takes 70 minutes and costs S$2.

When prime ministers Lee Hsien Loong and Najib Razak met here in May, they agreed to increase the number of cross-border bus services with the addition of eight new routes, four from Singapore and four from Malaysia.

These routes are to connect Pasar Bakti (Kotaraya II) and Larkin in Johor to the Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) integrated resorts, Boon Lay, Yishun, Newton and Changi Airport.

Two of the Singapore services started in September and run from RWS and Changi Airport to Johor Baru.

Express coach operator Transtar Group provides these two services but has yet to break even. Its 22-seater buses are at 40 per cent occupancy.

Transtar executive director Sebastian Yao, 54, said: “The company has been bleeding for three months but occupancy is growing. Maybe in six months or a year, it will hit 75 per cent. I may consider getting a bigger fleet of buses then.”

None of the Malaysian services has begun operating yet.

Mr Yap believes that the Malaysian bus companies will jump in only after their Singapore counterparts build up demand for these new services.

“If it were me, I would do that too,” he said.

To further improve connectivity between the two countries, the two prime ministers had earlier agreed at the retreat to build a rapid transit link between Tanjung Puteri in Johor and Singapore by 2018.

SMRT has been operating service 950 from Woodlands Regional Interchange to Kotaraya Terminal since 2004.

SMRT Buses vice-president Kang Huey Ling welcomed the new service linking Yishun and JB. “We believe the new cross-border service would encourage more travel between the two countries, and this would be beneficial to all companies in the long run,” she said.

Yishun Ring Road resident Edwin Lim, 44, a taxi driver, said he would use the new service AC7. Previously he took a train to Woodlands and transferred to a bus.

He said: “It is so much more convenient and direct now. I am more likely to go to Johor Baru with the new service.”

– The Straits Times, Friday 17 December 2010, page A14.

Premium bus service 586 returns… in Yishun! October 25, 2009

Posted by hafizbam in Bus, Express Coach, Premium Bus, Private operators, Something New.
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SBS Transit is now no longer the only bus operator providing premium bus services in Yishun town. Private bus operator Bus Hub Services Pte Ltd has been running a new route from the estate to the CBD on weekday mornings, soon after gaining approval from the Public Transport Council (PTC) in April 2009.

In true Bus Hub style, the service has been dubbed the Yishun Express and interestingly, officially numbered 586. Some Bukit Panjang residents may recall seeing a bus service with the same number running in their estate some months back. That was the SMRT Buses version of 586, which got scrapped due to low demand (and why wouldn’t it, paying 4 bucks to get to Jurong East just isn’t worth it!). So if this reborn 586 does succeed, it would definitely be a snub at SMRT, especially so when the service is running in their traditional operating territory!

Just like its two other premium bus services 562 and 576, Yishun Express 586 targets the residents of private housing who are more likely to work in a downtown office as compared to the typical HDB dweller. Along the way however, it does serve a bit of the Yishun HDB crowd missed out by SBS Transit’s 558 and 559.

The route starts at Canberra Drive serving residents of Yishun Sapphire and Yishun Emerald, calling at the bus stops outside the Darul Makmur Mosque and Yishun Community Library soon after. From there it proceeds to pick up passengers from the Lilydale, Shaughnessy and Orchid Park condominiums before heading to Sembawang and Upper Thomson Roads to fetch those residing in Springside and Springleaf estates. From there, the bus cruises along the expressways down to City Hall, Shenton Way and ending at the stop opposite Hong Lim Complex along Upper Cross Street.

If demand from SMRT’s 587* is anything to go by, this service should have a ready pool of customers, especially so when its coverage in the city area is much greater than the simple Shenton Way-only offerings. Again, this can only happen if the targeted crowd knows about Yishun Express’ very existence since private operators rarely display their bus service information at bus stops. *(SMRT’s 587 is also a premium route targeting those from the LaCasa, Rosewood, Casablanca and Woodgrove private housing, serving pockets of HDB residents along the way.)

And yes, the total journey time for Yishun Express end-to-end is only an hour at most as stated in their website. A flat fare of $4 per trip is payable, though regular commuters can save up by purchasing the monthly booking at $80. And for a limited time only, Bus Hub is offering an introductory monthly booking discounted fare of only $70.

More information can be found in Bus Hub’s website.