Starmart Express: Failed Trip from Golden Mile Tower to Kluang by Bus (Truncated)

Starmart Express provides lots of links to Peninsular Malaysian cities other than the common KL or Genting from Singapore, and I opted for them to get to Kluang too. I thought that taking the first bus to Kluang at 6.31am would get me there in time for a Malayan Railway Fan Club meet-up session at the railway station which would happen between 8.55am and 11.06am and I would at least get there reasonably by 10am, but looks like I had a good lesson to learn this time.

I redeemed my ticket for the bus ride after flashing my Easybook email from my phone. Looks like a bus change is necessary for this trip.

Heading out to the driveway to board my bus from Golden Mile Tower to Tanjung Kupang.

BKS6 is my shuttle to Tanjung Kupang Sultan Abu Bakar Complex.

As this was just a shuttle, it was free seating in the bus.

I got a front-ish upper deck single seat for easy access at Tuas Checkpoint.

Heading off to Tuas Checkpoint and the Malaysia–Singapore Second Link.

Instead of heading to Boon Lay Shopping Centre first to pick up more passengers, the shuttle headed directly to Malaysia.

Heading to the bus lane of Tuas Checkpoint.

The demolished site of the former Tuas Bus Terminal, now moved to the rooftop of Tuas MRT Depot.

Heading into Tuas Checkpoint.

Clearing immigration and re-boarding the bus was pretty fast as there were no queues and everyone on the bus seemed like a seasoned traveller.

Crossing over the 2nd Link Bridge into Malaysia.

Glad I’m not a car passenger.

Arrived at Tanjung Kupang CIQ. Immigration was rather quick too.

Once cleared, it was about a half and hour wait for the actual bus, AKA5775, to take everyone to Kluang. The bus arrived at 8am.

Boarding my bus to Kluang. Or so I thought.

Power sockets were available at the side, but they didn’t seem to be working.

The interior of the single-deck bus. I actually prefer Starmart’s single-decks as there is more legroom than the double-decks.

Settled in my seat, hoping to depart soon.

But no.

The bus continued to wait.

I asked the ground staff at the checkpoint what the issue was, and she said that the bus from Boon Lay hadn’t arrived yet, and we were waiting for them. Great.

I managed to take two breaks, one to buy breakfast from the small kiosk at the checkpoint, and one to head to the toilet AFTER finishing my breakfast.

About 1 hour later (!!!), the first two passengers from Boon Lay came on board. This was around 9am. Hmm, I’m not even sure if I can make it to Kluang by 11am now to even see the MRFC people off.

At 9.25am, I decided that 1.5 hours was enough of a wait (that’s possibly the journey time from Tanjung Kupang to Kluang on a good day), and that I might not even make it to Kluang by 12pm to catch my other Starmart bus back to Singapore. I informed the driver that I was not continuing my journey and got off.

To his credit, he did feel bad for me and called his operations side immediately to see what was their instruction with the 4 missing people, but they informed him that he had to wait for the 4 people for Kluang before he can depart (the bus was heading to Legoland too, sucks for those to be waiting for 1.5 hours and counting for the 15-minute journey from the checkpoint).

I truncated my journey here and opted to head to JB instead. There was a Causeway Link CW3E departing shortly at 9.30am, so I opted to try to catch that.

From here, I got on the Causeway Link CW3E directly to Larkin.

As I departed from the checkpoint towards Bukit Indah and Larkin, I looked back, and the Starmart bus was still waiting for the missing people. Looks like I made the right choice.

Overall, I felt quite bummed to wake up so early in the morning only to still be stuck not through my bus’s fault but for a connecting bus which was late probably due to the morning jams which my bus narrowly escaped and had passengers who either got lost or didn’t know how to clear immigration efficiently. I truncated my trip since I couldn’t make it up to Kluang for the meeting anyway due to the ongoing bus delay, but for those who are heading to Kluang as an actual destination, they probably stayed on since it wouldn’t affect a tight schedule. To Starmart’s credit, they didn’t allow the bus to abandon the 4 missing passengers, though I wonder if they would get hell from the other 21 passengers on board when they would finally arrive.

Will I take this first bus to Kluang again with a tight schedule? Hell no.


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