LTA Our Bus Journey Carnival

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Our Bus Journey Carnival organised by the Land Transport Authority will take place over three weekends in March-April 2016. With three runs of the carnival in different parts of town, the carnival aims to promote the history of Singapore Buses, as well as the Government Contracting Model (GCM) through interactive exhibits on the Past, Present and Future of the Singapore Public Bus Industry.

There will be static bus displays and transport-related artifacts from the past, as well as game booths and fun-filled activities. Attendees can even try their hands on a full-sized mock up bus simulator! The carnival will be held on the following weekends at the respective locations mentioned below.

Carnival Locations

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Bus Simulator

SMRT MAN A22 Bus Simulator from its 2014 Career Fair

Back for its third public appearance, the full-sized mockup bus simulator features an actual driver’s console onboard a MAN A22. Three sets of large projectors displays the simulation through the front and the two side view mirrors.

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Interactive Exhibits

Exhibits will feature the Past, Present and Future of the Singapore Public Bus Industry. More details will be released on the first carnival’s date.

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Past Bus Carnivals:

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References:

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A Bulim Carnival Day

 


“A Bulim Carnival Day” was an opening ceremony cum depot open house held on 6 December 2015 at the Bulim Bus Depot. It was organized by Tower Transit, the successful tenderer of the Bulim Bus Package, which will operate 26 bus routes out of the depot starting from May 2016.

The event provided a platform for Tower Transit Singapore to showcase its new depot, while educating the public on what to expect when the GCM kicks in from next year. In addition, static display buses were open to public viewing, and job-seekers could sign up for job opportunities with Tower Transit.

^ A Bulim Carnival Day, at Bulim Bus Depot

Background

Tower Transit was first established in London and Cambridge where it operates 650 buses, employs 2,000 people and carries over 115 million passengers a year. It was shortlisted for the title of Bus Operator of the Year in the 2015 London Transport Awards. It is a sister company of Australia’s leading Transit Systems Group which has over 19 years of operating experience with tendered government contracts in Australia. It now operates over 1,000 buses, employs more than 2,000 people and carries over 55 million passengers per year.

The company entered the Singapore bus scene when it bidded for, and was subsequently awarded the Bulim Bus Package, a route package comprising 26 bus routes based out of the new Bulim Depot. This was the first contract awarded by LTA as part of the Government Contracting Model (GCM), which will introduce a competitive scene of bus operators bidding for various route packages and a share of the market.

Coming May 2016, Tower Transit will take over the 26 bus routes in 3 tranches, as well as the managing of Jurong East and Bukit Batok Bus Interchanges. It will then operate these routes for five years, with a two-year extension granted based on good performance.

Getting to the Carnival

A shuttle bus service was arranged to loop between Bulim Bus Depot and Boon Lay MRT, picking up and dropping off participants on a rolling basis. The pick-up point at Boon Lay was the bus stop along Boon Lay Way, where CW6 also calls at.

Volvo B9TL buses registered with the SG-prefix were used on the shuttle, featuring green and white recruitment advertisements by Tower Transit. SG5006PSG5007LSG5008J and SG5009G were deployed, all featuring similar recruitment adverts in different languages on the nearside.

  Boon Lay MRT Bulim Depot
First Bus 9:45am 3:00pm
Last Bus 10:30am 4:30pm

Shuttle pick-up point at Boon Lay

SG5007L – Offside SG5006P – Nearside
Rear offside Rear nearside

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The Carnival

Arriving from the main entrance, guests would be provided an activity card containing a event layout map, lucky draw ticket, and coupons for food, snacks and drinks. The administration building of the depot was used to host the event, with the large sheltered area on the ground floor intended for parking of buses in the future.

At the carnival, there were mini-exhibitions by Tower Transit Singapore, Volvo, Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) and MAN, a display of bus liveries, and food and drinks. A bus design competition was also held, where the winner will have their design featured on an actual bus. A bouncy castle, airbrush tattoos, a photobooth and balloon-sculpting were activities arranged for children. Participants who were present at the event at 2:00PM would have been able to watch the official opening ceremony of the Bulim Bus Depot by Senior Minister of State Dr. Amy Khor and Tower Transit Group CEO Adam Leishman.

Other than the main event area, participants could sign up for a walking tour of the depot administration areas and taking a bus ride through the bus refueling area and bus wash.

Entering the depot Personal vehicle parking lots
Registration counter Stage, tables and benches

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Static Bus & Bus chassis displays:

Volvo, Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) and MAN, manufacturers of various bus models operated by Tower Transit, set up booths at the event. Under the Government Contracting Model (GCM), Tower Transit would operate Volvo B9TL and Alexander Dennis Enviro500 double-decker buses alongside MAN NL323F and Mercedes-Benz Citaro single-deck buses, all of which would be government assets loaned to Tower Transit for the duration of the contract period. While Mercedes-Benz did not set up a booth at the event, one Mercedes-Benz Citaro was showcased on static display.

The static displays showcased both Volvo B9TL and MAN NL323F chassis, along with completed Volvo B9TL, Mercedes-Benz Citaro and MAN NL323F buses. SG1002B, SG5002A and an unregistered MAN NL323F was featured.

^ Bus static displays

Volvo B9TL chassis MAN NL323F chassis
Volvo B9TL chassis rear Volvo B9TL dashboard closeup
MAN dashboard closeup MAN chassis engine closeup
Volvo B9TL driver’s components MAN driver’s components

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The Volvo B9TL (Wright Eclipse Gemini II bodywork) on display was registered SG5002A, built to SBS Transit’s latest “Batch 4” configuration which are also running on revenue service.  This configuration featured a straight staircase (with two staircase landings) and increased legroom for the front seats of the upper deck.

Under the GCM, Volvo B9TL buses were procured by tapping into SBS Transit’s existing orders, hence retaining identical technical specifications and interior design. Just like its SBS Transit cousins, these buses were assembled using complete knock-down (CKD) kits produced by Wrightbus. They are assembled locally by ComfortDelGro Engineering, the engineering branch of SBS Transit’s parent company ComfortDelGro, at the bus assembly plant at Hougang Bus Depot.

Interior registration plate IDFC and card readers

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The Mercedes-Benz O530 Citaro on display was registered SG1002B and built to SBS Transit specifications. Under the GCM, Mercedes-Benz Citaros were procured by tapping into SBS Transit’s existing orders, hence retaining identical technical specifications and interior design. These buses were built in Germany and shipped completely-built-up to Singapore.

Interior with SBS Transit stickers IDFC, coinbox and card readers

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The MAN NL323F on display was unique in not featuring any special Tower Transit livery, but rather SMRT’s silver-grey base coat (prior to application of its pixel-design livery) with additional decals on its glass panels promoting the MAN bus. The unregistered bus is likely to be fresh from the Gemilang Coachworks assembly line and borrowed from local dealer ST Kinetics for the event.

Under the GCM, MAN NL323F buses (also known as the MAN A22) were procured by tapping into SMRT’s existing orders, hence retaining identical technical specifications and interior design. Just like its SMRT cousins, these buses were assembled by Gemilang Coachworks Sdn Bhd in Senai, Johor, with bodywork similar to MAN’s Lion City Hybrid buses under license from MAN.

However, on-board equipment such as the Integrated Driver’s Fare Console (IDFC) system, card readers and the coinbox were yet to be installed.

^ Bus static displays

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While Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) did not have a static bus on display, a booth was set up. At that point of time, BSEP-registered Alexander Dennis Enviro500 units in Singapore werestill  in service with SMRT and yet to be handed over to new GCM operators.

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Walking Depot Tour

Guided tours of the administration building were organised for participants to get a glimpse of the inner workings of the depot. The depot offices, operations control centre, drivers’ rest area and canteen were among the areas featured along the tour, which occupy the second floor of the administration building.

The first stop is the Tower Transit depot office, which was designed around the open office concept. Without cubicles, staff are more free to interact and move around, and the whole office has a more spacious feel without barriers in the way.

Tower Transit front desk Conference Room
Open concept office space Sitting area
Office pantry Office pantry

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The operations control centre (OCC) is the heart of all Tower Transit bus operations, or at least it would be, once all the computers are installed in the near future. Apart from the regular team of staff who take care of bus operational matters, a separate team of staff would be dedicated to spacing buses apart and maintaining headway, crucial in keeping the Excess Wait Time (EWT) to a minimum. The EWT of a bus service is the main quality indicator of on-time adherence, and a low EWT score indicates that buses are operating with minimal deviation from schedule.

A dispatch office is also present, where bus drivers report to at the start and end of the work day. A counter next to the canteen and recreation area would be where drivers collect and return the bus logbooks, time sheets and other relevant documents for their shift.

Operations Control Centre workstation Operations Control Centre
Dispatch counter Dispatch offices

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The canteen and recreation area is the showcase of Tower Transit’s commitment to driver welfare, which they have termed “the best in the world”. Air-conditioned and bathed in natural lighting, the recreation area guarantees comfort for employees, especially bus drivers who are not on the roads. This mainly caters to drivers on the split shift, who only drive during the morning and evening peak hours with a long break in between.

Apart from tables, chairs and sofas, table soccer and table tennis are provided for recreational use. Interior furniture and table games were provided by Tower Transit themselves.

^ Canteen and Recreation area

Future canteen stalls Future canteen stalls
Canteen stalls, toilets and washbasins Recreation area
Table soccer and sofas Table soccer and sofas
Office temporary occupied by SMRT Sofas and tables
Rest area Rest area

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Bus Refueling and Bus Wash Tour

A tour of the bus refueling and bus washing areas was organised with two Volvo B9TL buses, SG5003Y and SG5004U, making their rounds around these two areas. Both buses featured SBS Transit livery (without the company logo) on the sides, and a full white front and rear.

Upon the end of their shift, bus captains returning to the depot would hand over their buses a specialised team of staff called shunters, which would perform the refueling, washing and parking duties of incoming buses. This is in contrast to SBS Transit and SMRT, where these duties would have normally been carried out by bus captains.

Designed for ten buses at a time, the refueling area has ten lanes to top up buses with diesel after a long day on the road. Currently, only one lane is equipped with an AdBlue pump. Used as a diesel exhaust fluid, AdBlue is a diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) used on buses employing Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology, which are the Volvo B9TL, Mercedes-Benz O530 Citaro and Alexander Dennis Enviro500 buses.

After refueling, buses head straight for the bus wash. Five automatic bus washing machines rinse off dust and dirt accumulated after a day of operation on the roads. Finally, buses would be parked throughout the depot.

Bus refueling area – with ten lanes Bus wash area – with five lanes
Queue for bus ride Refueling lanes
Refueling lanes Refueling lane with Adblue pump
Bus washing machine, seen from the refueling lane Bus washing machine
Entering the bus wash Upper deck view
SG5003Y SG5004U

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Official Opening Ceremony

The official opening ceremony of the Bulim Bus Depot was held at 2:00PM, with the Guest of Honour being Senior Minister of State and Member of Parliament for Hong Kah North, Dr. Amy Khor. Also around was Tower Transit Group CEO, Adam Leishman.

^ Official opening ceremony

Tower Transit Senior Management Photo taking

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Early Bird Registration Goodie Bag

Guests who pre-registered for the event were entitled to a Tower Transit goodie bag containing snacks, water, a fan, card holder, water bottle, retractable lanyard and a foldable paper bus.

It’s A (Bus) Wrap: Design Competition

It’s A (Bus) Wrap: Design Competition was an on-the-spot design competition held during the carinival, and entries must be submitted between 10AM and 3PM on the same day. The grand prize winner would have their artwork and name featured prominently on a double-decker training bus which will ply one of Tower Transit’s 26 routes, as well as Faber Castell art materials worth S$120.

^ Pictures obtained from A Bulim Carnival Day Facebook page

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Others

Local food from sponsors Putera Puteri Our Makan Place, Sinaran, and Delihub, provided meals in exchange for coupons provided at registration. Drink and snack stalls were also set up.

A small office near the entrance was used as a recruitment office, where interested participants could speak to the Human Resources team regarding recruitment matters.

Recruitment Office Recruitment Office
Tower Transit uniforms Leaving messages for Tower Transit staff
History of the company Finished message board
Baloon sculpting, among other booths Activities at the Volvo booth
Bus design competition Boarding the bus

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PublicTransportSG@Wordpress would like to express our sincerest gratitude and thanks to Tower Transit Singapore for organizing the event.

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External Links & References:

  • A Bulim Carnival Day – Facebook
  • Tower Transit Singapore – Facebook
  • Additional pictures provided by 593Gallery

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Journey With Us @ Choa Chu Kang 2015

The Journey With Us @ Choa Chu Kang Bus Interchange – SMRT Community Engagement & Career Fair was held on 25 April 2015 from 0900hrs to 1800hrs at Choa Chu Kang Bus Interchange.

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Organised to compliment the launch of Feeder Service 301 and Trunk Servce 983, the event provided a platform for SMRT to showcase its operational capabilities and available job opportunities with various booths at the event.

In addition, the event accompanies new improvements to Choa Chu Kang Interchange, including the installation of Passenger Interactive System (PIS) units, which are touch-screen panels providing details about bus routes, public transport directions and bus departure timings. At each berth, new display screens provide next bus departure timings for bus services at the berth.

This is the third Community Engagement and Career Fair organised by SMRT, the first being in September 2014. Unlike previous carnivals, static bus displays and the bus simulator did not make an appearance likely due to space constraints within the bus interchange.

Although there was a Journey With Us @ Yishun Temp Int, we do not consider that as an actual carnival but rather more of the launch of Yishun Temp Int.

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 A: Launch of SMRT Bus Services 301 and 983, and amendment of Service 300.

On 25 April 2015 at 0930hrs, Guest of Honour Mr Gan Kim Yong, along with Special Guests Mr Zaqy Mohamad and Mr Alex Yam, rode Services 300, 301 & 983 separately to mingle with commuters traveling along the route before heading back to Choa Chu Kang Bus Interchange. They then took Service 983 to Choa Chu Kang Ave 5 – Blk 485, the bus stop most affected by the new amendments, to interact with residents there.

One additional trip of Service 983 (SMB5040L) was deployed to ferry the MPs from Choa Chu Kang Ave 5 back to Choa Chu Kang Int at 1220hrs. However, they missed the special trip, and ended up arriving Choa Chu Kang Bus Interchange on Service 301 (SMB3085X) instead.

Exchanging greetings with the bus driver

Event crew welcoming the bus ferrying the Guest of Honour and MPs.

A row of SMRT Bus Captains lined up to welcome and exchange handshakes with the Guest of Honour and Special Guests. Student ambassadors from South View Primary introduced the newly installed Passenger Interactive System (PIS) to the MPs.

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Members of the South View Primary School rope-skipping club welcomed the MPs with a short performance.

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The Guest of Honour and Special Guests officially launching the new and amended bus services.

The launch ceremony included the screening of a video about the improvements to Choa Chu Kang Interchange as well as the planning involved for Services 300, 301 & 983.
Watch the video here. (SMRT Official Facebook)

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B: Exhibition Area

The exhibition area was located at the sheltered walkway which connects Choa Chu Kang Bus Interchange to the MRT Station. The exhibition showcases the Bus Operations Control Centre (BOCC) monitoring application, in which SMRT staff members use to monitor various aspects of service reliability such as frequency as well as driver performance. A career booth was also set up to promote a career with SMRT Buses and available job vacancies. A flea market was set up by Choa Chu Kang residents, and alongside that, a Health Promotion Board booth to promote their I Quit and 1 Million Kg Programmes.

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Event pamphlets were given out along the walkway connecting the alighting berth to the MRT Station.

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Exhibition venue, – Flea Market

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SMRT Exhibition Booths

B1: SMRT Service Excellence

The service excellence booth allows commuters to express their gratitude to SMRT staff by penning down their appreciation messages on post-its. These messages are then showcased on the giant appreciation board for all to see. Upon submitting the encouraging message, the attendees would be given Bag Down Benny card holders or lanyards.

B2: Bus Operations Control Centre

Similar to the previous bus carnivals, the Bus Service Reliability Framework (BSRF) monitoring station was showcased, featuring buses with telematics data on SMRT BSRF routes (176, 184, 188, 189, 302, 853, 858, 901, 911 and 962) as blue dots on a map of Singapore. The individual buses can be sorted according to their route, allowing controllers to monitor the frequency of these services and take necessary action to maintain the BSRF requirements.

The bus operations applications were only for display during this carnival, unlike previous carnivals where there was a demonstration by the staff manning the booth on how to track specific buses or specific bus captain to monitor their performance.

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17274120411_5ca88a0f6e_z 16654394073_450a40bc8c_z

Service enhancements posters regarding Choa Chu Kang Int services were also put up to inform commuters of the recent improvement to bus services such as additional double-decker bus deployments.

B3: Training And Recruitment

Similar to previous carnivals, SMRT had also set up a career booth to attract job seekers. Positions available included Route Controller, BOCC controller, Operation Supervisor, Despatch Starter and more.

The company also promoted their new progressive career scheme for bus drivers with clear advancement pathways. Since last year, drivers can upgrade themselves to higher salary ranges with each progression, using a competency framework for skills upgrading in areas such as customer service, leadership management and technical knowledge.

B4: Other Booths

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Apart from the booths that SMRT have set up, there were other booths in the exhibition area.

Such booths include:

  • Free SMRT Balloons
  • Free popcorn
  • Flea market booths by Choa Chu Kang residents
  • Free caricature booth
  • Free sand art for children
  • Health Promotion Board – I Quit and 1 Million KG Challenge

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C: Interchange Improvements

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The new SMRT Service Guide rack and Bus Information Panel at CCK Int

The interactive Passenger Interactive System (PIS), which was first installed at Bukit Batok Bus Interchange, followed by Yishun Temporary Bus Interchange, was also introduced into Choa Chu Kang Bus Interchange. Student Service Ambassadors from South View Primary School were manning the PIS, introducing the PIS to the public for the day.

The new interactive panel features (for all bus services at the interchange)

  • Next & subsequent bus departure timings by service
  • Route information and fares for individual service
  • Map of berth location by service
  • Journey planner
  • Feedback form
  • Link to Keat Hong Constituency Facebook page

The improved SMRT Service Guide Rack also made its appearance during the carnival. It features slanted slots for service guides as well as service number label on the slots. The improved design keeps the service guides in mint conditions as the previous guide racks (at Yishun Temp & Bukit Batok Int) would cause the service guides to be bent at the front due to the vertical positioning of the guides.

New next bus arrival timing display for every berths were also installed to show the next 2 bus departure timings for the services at each berth.

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Video:

Official SMRT Video on the carnival

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Previous Carnival Writeups:

  1. SMRT Journey With Us @ E2I
  2. SMRT Journey With Us @ Bukit Batok Int

Journey With Us @ BBI 2014

The Journey With Us @ Bukit Batok Bus Interchange – SMRT Community Engagement & Career Fair was held on 14 & 15 November 2014 from 0900hrs to 1800hrs at Bukit Batok Bus Interchange.

The event provided a platform for SMRT to showcase its operational capabilities, while educating the public on various aspects of everyday bus operations. In addition, a bus simulator and static display buses provided for hands-on experience, and job-seekers could sign up for job opportunities with SMRT.

Welcome message programmed on a Mobitec Electronic Display Signage (EDS)

Welcome message programmed on a Mobitec Electronic Display Signage (EDS)

SMRT Bus Service 990 was launched in conjunction with this carnival by Member of Parliament for Jurong GRC – Mdm Halimah Yacob.

This is the second Bus Carnival organised by SMRT, the first being in September 2014. The writeup of the first carnival (organised in collaboration with e2i) can be found here.

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Pre Event

The second edition of “Journey With Us”, entitled “Journey With Us @ BBI”), was first hinted by SMRT through their official Facebook page on 28 October 2014. Finalized event details were released over their Facebook page on 31 October 2014.

Promotional posters were placed on the notice board behind the bus captains’ cabin onboard most SMRT Buses.

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A: Static Bus Displays

For the carnival static bus display, SMRT decided to showcase 3 buses for Journey With Us @ BBI. The 3 buses are as follows:

  1. Alexander Dennis Enviro500 – SMB5012T
  2. Batch 3 MAN A22 – SMB1483T
  3. Mercedes-Benz O530 Citaro – SMB140P

SMB5012T is an Alexander Dennis Enviro500, SMRT’s first model of double-deck bus which replaces their retiring high capacity bendy buses. This particular bus is freshly registered and has yet to be deployed on revenue service. Note the full red SMRT logo replaces the older logo which has its lower half in black.

SMB5012P - Front

SMB5012T – Front

SMB5012P - Rear

SMB5012T – Rear

SMB1483T is a Batch 3 MAN NL323F (A22), just one of many among SMRT’s latest influx of wheelchair-accessible 12-metre buses intended for fleet-wide replacement and renewal.

SMB1483T - Front

SMB1483T – Front

SMB1483T - Rear

SMB1483T – Rear

SMB140P is the first Mercedes-Benz Citaro to bear SMRT’s new livery, and part of SMRT’s small fleet of just 51 Citaros, all of which were manufactured in Germany. This bus was also showcased during the first SMRT Bus Carnival in September 2014.

SMB140P - Front

SMB140P – Front

SMB140P - Rear

SMB140P – Rear

Buses on static display were fully open to the public, and electric fans provided ventilation within the bus as vehicle electronics were turned off. Visitors were given the opportunity to explore the driver’s cabin and take photographs freely. SMRT also deployed staff at each bus to facilitate the flow of visitors, and prevent tampering of equipment.

It was noted that the rims and tyres of all static display buses got a fresh coat of black paint and polishing (for SMB140P and SMB1483T) specially for this carnival.

At specific timings, a guided tour was conducted by SMRT Maintenance Crew on the static display buses, which included a brief introduction to engine components. Free gifts were awarded for correctly answered questions, with winners walking away with a travel cutlery set.

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B: Launch of SMRT Bus Service 990

On 15 November 2014 at 0930hrs, SMRT Bus Service 990 was officially launched by Madam Halimah Yaccob, Grassroots Advisor to Jurong GRC Grassroots Organisation, Speaker of Parliament and MP for Jurong GRC.

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Madam Halimah Yacob makes her speech

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Specially invited guests were invited onboard SMB3113Z on a special trip following the route of Service 990 from Bukit Batok Int to Toh Guan Road. Mdm Halimah then interacted with residents of Toh Guan before boarding back SMB3100K to Bukit Batok Int via PIE.

Exchanging greetings with the bus driver

Exchanging greetings with the bus driver

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C: Exhibition Area

The exhibition area was located at the hard court beside Bukit Batok Bus Interchange (near Blk 628A MSCP). The exhibition showcases various aspects of SMRT’s bus operations, such as technology, safety, and traveling experience. A career booth was also set up to promote a career with SMRT Buses and available job vacancies. The biggest attraction, as usual, was the bus driving simulator, featuring a full mock up of an SMRT MAN NL323F (A22).

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Exhibition venue, with bus simulator on the right

C1 – Bus Simulator:

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The main attraction was a full-sized mockup bus simulator, the same one which debuted in the first carnival, featuring an actual driver’s console onboard a MAN A22. Three sets of large projectors displayed the simulation through the front and the two side view mirrors. The simulation software was jointly developed with ST Electronics (Training & Simulation Systems).

The new featured route took visitors though a simulation of SMRT Bus Service 990. Each visitor was entitled to roughly three minutes on the simulator.

One key improvement to the simulator was the incorporation of haptic feedback to the steering wheel, which better emulates the counteracting forces when the bus is turned. The simulator present at the previous carnival had no haptic feedback.

Another improvement as compared to the previous carnival was that there was a SMRT Training Instructor beside the driver to guide the user on his/her simulated driving. Guidance such as to slow down before turning and how many turns the steering wheel should be turned were given.

C2: Bus Technology

The technology exhibit showcases various technologies which SMRT integrates with their bus operations.

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SMaRT Solutions (NEC):

SMRT plans to integrate smarter technology into everyday bus operations to both optimize resources and improve commuter experience. The new interactive bus information panel (BIP) was launched at Bukit Batok Bus Interchange during the carnival. Student Service Ambassadors from Bukit View Secondary School were manning the booth on the first day, introducing the BIP to the public. A representative from NEC was manning the booth for the second day.

View the Bukit Batok Interchange Service Improvement video here, featuring the interactive panel. (BBI Service Improvements – SMRT Official Facebook)

Interactive panel

Interactive panel

The new interactive panel features (for all bus services at the interchange)

  • Next & subsequent bus departure timings by service
  • Route information and fares for individual service
  • Map of berth location by service
  • Journey planner
  • Feedback form

An information panel at Berth B3 was also launched which featured the next 2 departure timings for services 106/106A & 990.

Bus Operations Control Centre & Service Control Management System:

Similar to the previous bus carnival, the Bus Service Reliability Framework (BSRF) monitoring station was showcased, featuring buses with telematics data on SMRT BSRF routes (176, 184, 188, 189, 302, 853, 858, 901, 911 and 962) as a blue dot on a map of Singapore. The individual buses can be sorted according to their route, allowing controllers to monitor the frequency of these services and take necessary action to maintain the BSRF requirements.

The kiosk

The kiosk

Following feedback from the previous carnival, a new control kiosk allowed visitors to have a hands on experience in tracking buses and monitoring the BSRF key performance indicators for the various services.

The control kiosk would be available at all SMRT Bus Interchanges to allow individual bus captains to be able to reflect on their driving issues such as speeding, sharp cornering, harsh braking and harsh acceleration. The control kiosk would also be able to print the payslips of individual bus captains as well as allow them to apply their leaves from work.

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C3: Traveling Experience

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Service Excellence booth

The service excellence booth allows carnival attendees to showcase their gratitude to SMRT staff by providing post-its for the attendees to pen down their appreciation message. These messages are then showcased on the giant appreciation board for all to see. Upon submitting the encouraging message, the attendees would be given a copy of the corporate newsletter SMRT n I (Issue 03 Oct 2014), with free bus bookmarks included.

C4: Training And Recruitment

Recruitment booth

Recruitment booth

As part of the fair, SMRT had also set up a career booth to attract job seekers. Positions available included Route Controller, BOCC controller, Operation Supervisor, Despatch Starter and more.

The company also promoted their new progressive career scheme for bus drivers with clear advancement pathways. Since last year, drivers can upgrade themselves to higher salary ranges with each progression, using a competency framework for skills upgrading in areas such as customer service, leadership management and technical knowledge.

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C: Kiddy Rides & Refreshments

Kiddy Rides, located inside the makeshift tentage, were provided free for young children who tag along with their parents. Refreshments such as popcorn and cotton candy were available free of charge at the refreshment booth.

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D: Adopt An Interchange

The Adopt-An-Interchange programme by SMRT was launched on the first day of the carnival, 14 November 2014. Bukit Batok Bus Interchange was adopted by both Bukit View and Bukit Batok Secondary Schools.

Performances

Performances

The students in performing arts groups from both schools will be performing at the Interchange throughout 2015 while other students will be serving as volunteer Service Ambassadors. They will demonstrate and guide commuters to the use of the new Interactive Panels as part of their Values in Action (VIA) contribution.

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Final Notes:

Hosting the carnival at Bukit Batok Int, and organising the launch of Service 990 in conjunction has increased the number of carnival attendees and also engaged more people as compared to the previous carnival. The overall carnival experience has improved as SMRT picks up lessons from its earlier carnival in September. With the carnival going to be hosted every few months in other SMRT interchanges, we might expect more events such as new bus service launch to be in conjunction with these carnivals.

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Gallery:

Scrolling EDS used at the event

Scrolling EDS used at the event

Static display

Static display

Event poster

Event poster

Video:

SMRT Bus Carnival and Career Fair 2014

The e2i-SMRT Bus Carnival and Career Fair was held on 12 & 13 September 2014 at the Devan Nair Institute For Employment and Employability along Jurong East Street 21. It was organized in collaboration with e2i, the Employment and Employability Institute.

The event provided a platform for SMRT to showcase its operational capabilities, while educating the public on various aspects of everyday bus operations. In addition, a bus simulator and static display buses provided for hands-on experience, and job-seekers could sign up for job opportunities with SMRT.

Welcome message programmed on a Hanover Electronic Display Signage (EDS)

Welcome message programmed on a Mobitec Electronic Display Signage (EDS)

Pre-Event

SMRT’s publicity drive revolved around the use of online and print media. The carnival was first hinted on SMRT’s Official Facebook Page on 17 August which offered a “personal insight into Singapore’s bus industry showcased in a really, really special way”. By 24 August 2014, event details were officially announced by SMRT on its Facebook Page, which described static display of buses, showcasing of its technologies (such as telematics), and its Bus Operations Control Centre.

SMRT had also released promotional material onboard its buses starting from 31 August 2014, in the form of coloured bus hangers, each featuring a different bus in their fleet. The hangers boasted “photo opportunity with display buses”, an experience on the driving simulator, as well as understanding bus operations. The 8 different designs are as follows:

hangers_wm

S/N Color: Bus Model: Registration:
1 Purple DAF SB220 TIB695C
2 Fuchsia MAN A22 SMB3009S
3 Red Mercedes-Benz O405G Habit TIB1117Z
4 Orange Alexander Dennis Enviro500 SMB3505B
5 Lime Green MAN A24 SMB388S
6 Dark Green Mercedes-Benz OC500LE  SMB2E
7 Teal Mercedes-Benz O405 TIB772M
8 Azure Blue Mercedes-Benz O405G MkII TIB992U

More teasers were added to SMRT’s Facebook page on the eve of the event day, 11 September. The photos featured the mockup bus simulator with a realistic front and dashboard, as well as a sneak preview on the simulation software. The bus simulator is situated at the main entrance of the carnival.

SMB388S, TIB822C & SMB1462D were spotted parking at their static display area for testing purposes for an hour on 11 September 2014, a day before the carnival was due to start.

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Event Day

SMRT Bus Carnival layout

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A: Static Bus Displays

Although provisions and plans were made for five buses to be showcased during the carnival, only three buses were present at the carnival static display on the first day, namely SMB388S (MAN A24), SMB1462D (Batch 3 MAN A22) and TIB822C (Mercedes-Benz O405 Hispano).

SMRT MAN NG363F (A24): SMB388S

SMRT Mercedes-Benz O405: TIB822C

SMRT MAN NL323F (A22): SMB1462D

SMB388S, the MAN NG363F (A24), is SMRT’s first wheelchair-accessible bendy bus, and they plan to bring in an additional 40 units in the near future. SMB1452D is a Batch 3 MAN NL323F (A22), a part of SMRT’s latest influx of wheelchair-accessible 12-metre buses intended for fleetwide replacement and renewal. TIB822C is a refurbished Mercedes-Benz O405, among the oldest bus model in the SMRT fleet and still going strong. Their progressive retirement will see them being replaced with MAN A22 buses.

On the second day, SMB140P (Mercedes-Benz O530 Citaro) and TIB717Z (DAF SB220) joined the static display in addition to the three existing buses.

SMRT Mercedes-Benz Citaro – SMB140P

SMRT DAF SB220 – TIB717Z

SMB140P is the first Mercedes-Benz Citaro to bear SMRT’s new livery, and part of SMRT’s small fleet of just 51 Citaros, all of which were manufactured in Europe. TIB717Z is a refurbished DAF SB220, a unique bus in the fleet hailing from the Netherlands and an old workhorse, plying the roads since 1995.

Buses on static display were fully open to the public, and electric fans provided ventilation within the bus as vehicle electronics were turned off. Visitors were given the opportunity to explore the driver’s cabin and take photographs freely. SMRT also deployed staff at each bus to facilitate the flow of visitors, and prevent tampering of equipment.

It was noted that the rims and tyres of all static display buses got a fresh coat of black paint and polishing (for SMB1462D and SMB388S) specially for this carnival.

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B: Exhibition Hall

The exhibition hall showcases various aspects of SMRT’s bus operations, such as technology, safety, and travelling experience. A career booth was also set up to promote a career with SMRT Buses and available job vacancies. But perhaps the biggest attraction was the bus driving simulator, featuring a full mock up of an SMRT MAN NL323F (A22).

Interior of the exhibition hall

B1 – Bus Simulator:

There were two simulators present in the carnival exhibition hall. The main attraction was a full-sized mockup bus simulator, featuring an actual driver’s console onboard a MAN A22. Three sets of large projectors displayed the simulation through the front and the two side view mirrors. The simulation software was (presumably) jointly developed with ST Electronics (Training & Simulation Systems).

The featured route took visitors from Bukit Panjang Road (junction with Pending Rd) up onto the Bukit Timah Expressway, following Service 190 / 700 / 700A / 960 / 972’s route towards the city (although the map was bigger than that). Each visitor would be entitled to roughly three minutes on the simulator.

Inside of the simulator, featuring a MAN A22 mock-up dashboard and three projector screens (one behind the camera)

Simulator dashboard with main projector ahead

Main projector and computers

Rear view mirror scenes are displayed on screen

Outside of the simulator assembly

Another simulator present was the car simulator, which uses the same map as the bus simulator, albeit a different dashboard and interior.

The car simulator

B2: Bus Technology

The technology exhibit showcases various technologies which SMRT integrates with their bus operations.

The technology booths

Mock-up of a future SMRT interactive board

SMART Technology:

SMRT plans to integrate smarter technology into everyday bus operations to both optimize resources and improve commuter experience. Currently, SMRT is planning to bring its new technology within reach of commuters with a new interactive bus information panel, expected to be on trial at Bukit Batok Bus Interchange in the near future.

The new touchscreen-capable bus information panel will not only provide next and subsequent bus arrival timings, but also maps of the bus routes and interchange surroundings, and a feedback platform for commuters. An additional ‘contact’ feature can put users through to direct communication with SMRT staff.

For bus operations, SMRT plans on enhancing the telematics system onboard its buses by incorporating real time feedback from the driver panel. Driving offences, such as speeding, harsh acceleration/braking, sharp cornering and excess idling, can be accurately tracked in real time to the driver involved and real time location of offence. Data collected can be used to better monitor driving habits, and if so, engage bus drivers in disciplinary action.

Telematics installed on a MAN A24 (SMB388S)

Telematics installed on a Mercedes-Benz Citaro (SMB140P)

Telematics: Event and Incident analysis

Telematics: Management insights

Service Control Management System:

Monitoring of individual bus services has never been more important than with the introduction of the Bus Service Reliability Framework (BSEF) from February 2014. The aim is to reduce Excess Wait Time (EWT) for bus services, which is the difference between the actual and scheduled waiting time. A total of ten SMRT bus services (176, 184, 188, 189, 302, 853, 858, 901, 911 and 962) were selected for the BSRF, which will span over two years.

SMRT manages EWT for the selected bus services by advising buses to slow down or stop to maintain a distance between front and rear buses. As such, service control management systems come into play. With locations of buses available in real time, service controllers (both on the ground and in Operations Control) can keep buses spaced apart more efficiently.

SMRT’s intranet network live-tracking buses running on Services 176 and 858

Bus Operations Control Centre:

As overall-in-charge, the Operations Control Centre relies on computer systems to monitor all aspects of bus operations. Several aspects of them were showcased at the carnival.

How buses are monitored across a bus route. Red indicates buses ahead of schedule; green indicates buses falling behind schedule.

Tracking all SMRT buses with telematics installed. Blue indicates all clear; other colors indicate driver offences

B3: Safety

The Traffic Police had set up a booth to promote many aspects of road safety.

Traffic Police – Safety booth

B4: Travelling Experience

SMRT Service Excellence & Singapore Kindness Movement:

In tandem with the Singapore Kindness Movement, carnival attendees could pen down their messages of appreciation towards Bus Captains.

Travelling experience booth

Notes of appreciation to SMRT staff

B5: Careers with SMRT

As part of the fair, SMRT had also set up a career booth to attract job seekers. Positions avaliable included Route Controller, BOCC controller, Operation Supervisor, Despatch Starter and more.

The company also promoted their new progressive career scheme for bus drivers with clear advancement pathways. Since last year, drivers can upgrade themselves to higher salary ranges with each progression, using a competency framework for skills upgrading in areas such as customer service, leadership management and technical knowledge.

Additionally, SMRT has introduced a new scheme allowing drivers to opt for shorter shifts through a flexi-work arrangement, in a bid to bring more Singaporeans and Permanent Residents (PRs) into the current pool of public bus drivers. They can choose to work for four to five hours either in the morning or night, or only on weekends, but for eight to nine hours. The scheme will likely appeal to drivers who are unable to commit to the full-time job of a public bus driver.

The Careers booth

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C: Refreshment Booths, Kiddy Rides & Game Stalls

Refreshment Booths were located outside of the exhibition hall, on the mezzanine level of the carnival location, where cotton candy and popcorn were provided free for carnival visitors. Kiddy Rides, also located at the mezzanine level, were provided free for young children who tag along with their parents.

Additional game stalls were also present at the mezzanine which entertained visitors in various games such as Dart Champ and Shootout. Special prizes were handed out to participants who completed the games.

Kiddy rides

Carnival games

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D: Lucky Dip

The sure-win lucky dip counter was located at the Registration Counter outside Hall 1 on the first day of the carnival and inside Hall 2 on the second day of the carnival. Visitors would present a fully stamped carnival card (by visiting all four main booths in the carnival to obtain a stamp each), and to take a picture with any of the static display buses. Alternatively, one could present any promotional bus hanger on the carnival for a chance at the draw. Prizes available were:

Lucky draw & photo printing counters

  1. SMRT Ballpoint Pen
  2. Aluminium SMRT Bus Carnival Water Bottle / Plastic SMRT Bus Carnival Tumbler
  3. e2i USB flash drive (2GB)
  4. $10 Starbucks Card
  5. $10 NTUC Fairprice voucher
  6. $20 NTUC Fairprice voucher

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E: Shuttle Bus Service

A shuttle bus service was provided by SMRT between Jurong East MRT Coach Stand (Bay 3) along Venture Ave, to the event venue (Devan Nair Institute for Employment and Employability) along Jurong East St 21. It operated only on 13 Sep (Saturday), the second day of the bus carnival.

Two buses were deployed for the shuttle; SMB5003U, a newly registered Alexander Dennis Enviro500, as well as SMB30Z, a Mercedes-Benz OC500LEClick for larger images:

SMB30Z – SMRT Bus Carnival 2014 Shuttle

SMB5003U – SMRT Bus Carnival 2014 Shuttle

Shuttle Bus

The electronic display signage is programmed similar to the unit installed within the exhibition hall, with three frames. The shuttle service runs at an interval of 15 – 20 minutes, from the first bus from Venture Ave at 1145hrs to the last bus from Jurong East Street 21 at 1700hrs.

Route: Jurong East St 21 > Jurong Gateway Rd > Jurong Town Hall Rd > Jurong East St 11 > Venture Ave > Jurong Gateway Rd > Jurong East Ctrl > Jurong East St 21

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F: Future Developments:

Full News Release: First Bus Career Development Centre for Singapore

At the carnival, e2i (Employment and Employability Institute) and SMRT Corporation Ltd signed an agreement on 12 Sep, paving the way for the joint development and operation of Singapore’s first Bus Career Development Centre (BCDC). The event was attended by Mr Lim Swee Say, Secretary-General of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC).

The e2i–SMRT Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) leverages on core strengths in both organisations to nurture and provide meaningful employment and skills for Singaporean bus professionals. The partnership will drive the professionalising of the Singapore’s bus industry through (1): A progressive wage model for staff in SMRT Buses, and (2) The setting up of an Integrated Driving and Service Control (iDSC) simulator at the e2i institute in Jurong East, which allow bus captains to train together with service controllers to reduce bus bunching and improve bus service reliability.

Furthermore, the first Bus Career Development Centre (BCDC) in Singapore will be situated at the Devan Nair Institute for Employment and Employability, and should be ready in about a year. There will be 16 simulators which will improve training quality and safety as drivers learn how to navigate different buses, weather, and road conditions virtually before starting on-the-job.

More information can be found on the detailed articles. The following pictures in this section are fully credited to ST Electronics (Training & Simulation Systems) Pte Ltd: (click for larger images)

Simulator overview

Simulator overview

1. Bus Cabin Simulator

2. Bus Desktop Station

3. Service control desktop

4. Instructor operation station

  1. Eight Bus Cabin Simulators:
    • Caters for all bus models used by Public Transport Operators (PTO)
    • Basic to Advanced driving modules
    • Scenarios for different traffic conditions and operating scenarios
    • Configurable for logistic vehicle/private bus
  2. Eight Bus Desktop Stations:
    • Interchangeable LCD monitors for different bus models
    • Route familiarisation for regular and bus bridging service
  3. Two Service Control Desktop Stations:
    • Service Monitoring
    • Bus timekeeping and dispatch
    • Communication & coordination with bus driver
    • Incident handling
  4. One Instructor Operation Station:
    • Concurrent training, evaluation and assessment
    • Real-time monitoring
    • On-demand scenario injections

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Final Notes

The bus carnival was a win-win situation for SMRT, the general public, as well as bus enthusiasts. While SMRT organized its career fair to attract new talent, the general public and bus enthusiasts were also able to learn more about bus operations and enjoy themselves with the static display buses. Perhaps SMRT could use this event as a stepping stone for larger community outreach programmes in the future.

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Gallery:

Scrolling EDS used at the Carnival, and the shuttle buses deployed for the event

SMB5003U at the pick-up point along Venture Ave

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External Links & References:

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