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.
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:
|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|
|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.
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).
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.
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.
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).
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.
Another simulator present was the car simulator, which uses the same map as the bus simulator, albeit a different dashboard and interior.
B2: Bus Technology
The technology exhibit showcases various technologies which SMRT integrates with their bus operations.
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.
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.
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.
The Traffic Police had set up a booth to promote many aspects of road safety.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- SMRT Ballpoint Pen
- Aluminium SMRT Bus Carnival Water Bottle / Plastic SMRT Bus Carnival Tumbler
- e2i USB flash drive (2GB)
- $10 Starbucks Card
- $10 NTUC Fairprice voucher
- $20 NTUC Fairprice voucher
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.
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
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)
- 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
- Eight Bus Desktop Stations:
- Interchangeable LCD monitors for different bus models
- Route familiarisation for regular and bus bridging service
- Two Service Control Desktop Stations:
- Service Monitoring
- Bus timekeeping and dispatch
- Communication & coordination with bus driver
- Incident handling
- One Instructor Operation Station:
- Concurrent training, evaluation and assessment
- Real-time monitoring
- On-demand scenario injections
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.
External Links & References:
Back to Bus Articles