Kampong Bahru Bus Terminal: The Former Royal Malaysian Customs Godown Lives On

This post about the former site of the Royal Malaysian Customs in Singapore marks the 400th blog post on RailTravel Station. Thank you for your support!

Once a hive of activity for cargo trains arriving into Singapore from Malaysia, the former site of the Federal Customs Collection Station of the Royal Malaysian Customs at Kampong Bahru Road, Singapore continues its transportation legacy today as the new Kampong Bahru Bus Terminal. Instead of KTM freight trains arriving and departing a couple of times a week, the site now sees buses streaming in constantly throughout the day from SBSTransit, SMRT and Go Ahead Singapore.

The former address of Royal Malaysian Customs, Railway Godown No. 2, Kampong Bahru Road, Singapore 168789 is now Kampong Bahru Bus Terminal, 11A Spooner Road, Singapore 168795.

Kampong Bahru Bus Terminal opened on 10 March 2018, replacing the former New Bridge Road Bus Terminal located outside of Outram Park MRT Station, which is now closed to make way for the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) Elective Care Centre.

For a viewpoint on the Kampong Bahru Bus Terminal relating to the facilities and bus service information, click here.


The Kampong Bahru Bus Terminal is located along a new stretch of Spooner Road, extending on from the angled right turn to the former Malayan Railways Running Bungalow and Quarters.

The former KTM quarters of Kemuning and Melati blocks, as well as the running bungalow can be seen from Kampong Bahru Bus Terminal. The two residential blocks are now used as interim rental housing for low income and needy families, while the Running Bungalow now functions as the Modern Montessori Pre-School Spooner Road Centre.


The former lush green railway yard is now populated by Lush Green-liveried buses.


Service information boards are available around the terminal, showing the vicinity of the neighbouring Spottiswoode Park Estate and the former Tanjong Pagar Railway Station.



The boarding berths and bus services available at Kampong Bahru Bus Terminal.

Kampong Bahru Bus Terminal (and the future URA carpark) is linked to the nearby Blair Road by a new universally-accessible covered linkway, which connects to the existing sheltered walkway to Spottiswoode Park Estate.



The future URA carpark is located on the former headshunt of the goods lines on Kampong Bahru Yard.


The former site of the E&O shed, KTM coaches shed, loco shed and turntable is now a concrete-based temporary holding space for the roofs of the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station platform while the site of Tanjong Pagar Railway Station is used for the construction of Cantonment MRT Station of the Circle Line Stage 6, closing the gap between HarbourFront and Marina Bay MRT Stations.

A small portion of the Sri Muneswarar Temple walls can still be seen from Blair Road.


The former staircase to the Sri Muneswarar Temple is now removed, but you can easily see where it is with the “new” barrier aligning perfectly with the former entrance, and with it being slightly higher than the rest of the existing barriers.

No need for turntables at the yard anymore – the buses can simply loop around the terminal, or make a u-turn by themselves.



The overview of the former railway yard and the new Kampong Bahru Bus Terminal as seen from Kampong Bahru Road.

On closer look, it appears that only the roofs have been transplanted to this temporary holding site. It is not known where the original pillars are currently at or are still in existence from these photos.




While the Kampong Bahru Yard used to be served by off-service trains only, you can now most certainly enter the piece of land by regular on-service buses.

The former entrance to the Royal Malaysian Customs on the Kampong Bahru Road slipway towards Bukit Purmei at the junction of Kampong Bahru Road and Jalan Bukit Merah is now a pedestrian entrance to the Kampong Bahru Bus Terminal.


A double-decker bus exiting from the turntable Kampong Bahru Bus Terminal, running along the former goods line of Kampong Bahru Yard.


Heading out of Kampong Bahru Bus Terminal and the former Royal Malaysian Customs on a bus, passing by the former turntable.

Running along the former alignment of the goods lines, with the current Tanjong Pagar Railway Station platform roofs and former site of the coach and loco sheds to the left.


The original alignment of Spooner Road, now as an entrance to the former KTM quarters (rental HDB flats) and the running bungalow (Modern Montessori Pre-School).

The Kampong Bahru Bus Terminal is a positive development on the former railway land in Singapore. However, I do really wish that much more development can be done on the stretch of land from Tanjong Pagar to Woodlands. After all, it’s been almost 7 years since the closure and pretty much almost nothing has been done yet (aside from the PUB Murnane Pipeline Project which is all underground). Once the roofs of the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station platforms has been transplanted back, I really do hope that there would be something new to be built on the former site of the rest of the yard. After all, if everyone wishes to keep the land as it is currently, wouldn’t it be better to simply not evict the railway and let trains continue to run through?

Today, it is impossible to get from Woodlands to Tanjong Pagar in 28 minutes by public transport. Let’s not hinder Singapore’s development and progress by preserving the former railway line as it is – closed and empty.

For a viewpoint on the Kampong Bahru Bus Terminal relating to the facilities and bus service information, click here.

 

Advertisements

Rapid Ferry: Butterworth to Penang Island (Georgetown) by Bus + Ferry (Butterworth Linkway Closure)

The Rapid Ferry is a roll-on/roll-off car and passenger ferry linking the multimodal transport hub of Penang Sentral at Butterworth on the mainland to the island of Penang at Georgetown. As the walkway from Butterworth Railway Station to the Sultan Abdul Halim Ferry Terminal is currently closed to facilitate the construction of the link to the upcoming Penang Sentral building, all passengers must use the free Penang Ferry Shuttle Bus to travel between Butterworth Railway Station and Sultan Abdul Halim Jetty in both directions.


Follow the signs from the shelter opposite Butterworth Railway Station to get to the Penang Sentral Temporary Transport Terminal.


The free Penang Ferry Shuttle Bus will be at the first berth on the right at the Penang Sentral Temporary Transport Terminal. Look out for the big red sign for directions to the ferry.

The bus’ electronic destination signage may or may not reflect the service as the free Penang Ferry Shuttle Bus. However, there will be a piece of paper in front stating “Shuttle Ferry”. If in doubt, ask the Rapid Penang driver standing in front of the bus.

The interior of the typical rapidPenang bus.

The journey to the Sultan Abdul Halim Ferry Terminal takes a new shorter route which passes by the upcoming Penang Sentral building.


The upcoming Penang Sentral building facade.

Turning into the Sultan Abdul Halim Ferry Terminal.


The bus stops at the foot of the ramp up towards the ticketing booth and waiting hall.

If you are travelling in the reverse direction towards Penang Sentral, this is the same waiting point for the free shuttle bus there.

Walk straight ahead to the ticket counter.


Purchase your ticket at the counter.

The Pedestrian Fares for the Rapid Ferry are as follows:

Single Trip
Adult RM1.20
Child RM0.60
Season Ticket (unlimited trips for 2 months) 
Adult RM30
Students (below 21 years old) RM6

My RM1.20 ticket for the Rapid Ferry journey to Penang Island.

Unlike its namesake, the waiting time for the Rapid Ferry is approximately 30 minutes (“3 ferry”) with the journey taking approximately 30 minutes. During off peak periods, the waiting time will be approximately once per hour (“1 ferry”).

Scan the QR code on the ticket at the ticket gates.

Wait at the waiting hall for the ferry, as usual.


There is a new display screen in the waiting area under maintenance. Hopefully this will provide more accurate arrival or departure times of the next ferry instead of just telling you that there are currently x number of ferries serving the route.


Boarding the Rapid Ferry.

An approaching Rapid Ferry backlit by the sunset over Penang Island. This ferry will go off service from here, thus reducing the frequency to “2 ferry”.

Departing from the Sultan Abdul Halim Ferry Terminal together, with the Pulau Pinang heading back to rest.

The repainted ferries with the new Rapid Ferry colour scheme.



The sunset over Penang Island.


Approaching the Raja Tun Uda Ferry Terminal on Penang Island.


Disembarking from the Rapid Ferry.

From here, you can connect to rapidPenang island bus services from Jetty.

Overall, the Rapid Ferry offers a good connection between Butterworth and Georgetown, but with the reduced frequency of “3 ferry” during the day and “1 ferry” during the night, the waiting time should you miss one can be up to 30 minutes during the day or one hour during the night, which is longer than the time taken to get across the harbour. With the upcoming opening of Penang Sentral, there will be an even higher demand for connections to the island via the Rapid Ferry since it’s located just beside the building, so hopefully Rapid Ferry will increase their services soon after the takeover by Prasarana is finalized as the current situation is nowhere near “rapid”.

Hong Kong Airport to East Tsim Sha Tsui by Train: CHEAPEST 4 Day Pass for Unlimited MTR Travel including Airport Express for only HK$200 + HK$3.50!

With the early morning arrival of my Cathay Pacific overnight flight from Singapore, I had an actual full first day in Hong Kong and there wasn’t much of a rush to the city to start my day. Well, even if I wanted too, the MTR Airport Express hadn’t even started yet.

We got out of the baggage claim area at around 5.20am, and were greeted by this sign. Guess it’s another 24 minutes of waiting for the counter to open to buy the Airport Express Travel Pass.

The purchase of the pass at the counter was hassle-free.

And here it is – the Airport Express Travel Pass! This costs HK$250 upfront and allows you any 3 consecutive days of unlimited travel on the MTR, Light Rail and MTR Bus (Northwest New Territories), except additional travel on the Airport Express, East Rail Line First Class, and travel to or from Lo Wu or Lok Ma Chau stations which are the border stations to Shenzhen, China.

So how is this a 4 Day Pass as mentioned in my headline?

If you read the definition of “3 consecutive days” on MTR’s website, it mentions that “(t)he 3 days starts from the recorded entry time of the first MTR train journey and lasts for 72 hours plus any additional hours up to the end of train service on the last day“, which in pleb commuter language means it’s actually for 4 actual days of unlimited travel.

If you return the pass after utilizing its value, you will also get a refund of HK$50. Deducting it from the actual cost, you are only actually paying HK$200 for 4 days of MTR travel including an Airport Express journey. This certainly beats buying 3 separate MTR Tourist Day Passes which would cost you HK$65 x 3 = HK$195 and does not get you an Airport Express ride to or from the city.

Sure, you could use it for the Airport Express into the city right away, but in order to maximise the full purpose of the Airport Express, you should leave it for your trip back to the airport as you will be able to use the In-town Check-in service to drop your bags in the city for your return flight. Moreover in my case, with the first train departing at 5.54am, taking the Airport Express from the airport would get me into the city way too early for any activities anyway.

To fully maximise the value of the Airport Express Travel Pass (1 Ride), you need to start off your journey with the S1 bus to Tung Chung MTR Station. This can be paid for in cash, or you can top up the Airport Express Travel Pass with cash value (it also functions as an Octopus Card) and thereafter pay for your bus fare with it. Ask the staff at the MTR Customer Service Centre to add value to your Octopus card in multiples of HK$50 at the point of purchase.

The S1 bus costs HK$3.50 (~S$0.60) to get you from Hong Kong Airport to Tung Chung.

Head down the ramp towards the Airport (Ground Transportation Centre) Bus Terminus.

If in doubt, just follow the signs towards “Bus”.

You will see a cluster of bus bays with awaiting buses. This is NOT the boarding point for the S1 bus.

Instead, cross the zebra crossing just beside it. The S1 bus departs from a separate bus stop as it is only a passing-through service.

Queue up in front of the S1 bus stop pole.

The S1 bus is a frequent shuttle between Hong Kong Airport to Tung Chung MTR Station, departing every 5 to 10 minutes.

Upon boarding, pay for your fare (HK$3.50) with your Octopus card or with cash in the exact amount. Change is not given by the driver, so remember not to drop your HK$100 note into the coin box unless you’re feeling really rich.

Inside the S1 bus. Most buses serving the airport come with luggage racks. Announcements are played in the bus during boarding to remind you to leave them there.

Wave goodbye to those taking the Airport Express to the city and remember to feel happy about yourself as you have just saved up to HK$100!

Tung Chung MTR Station is the last stop of the S1 bus service. If in doubt, there are on-board announcements and visual displays to remind you of it. If really lost, just follow the entire crowd in the bus when they disembark in the terminus.

The bus terminates at Tung Chung Bus Terminus.


The Tung Chung Bus Terminus is located adjacent to the Tung Chung MTR Station.

Enter the fare gates with your Airport Express Travel Pass to commence your 4 days of unlimited travel on the MTR. There is a wide gate in the middle of the concourse for passengers-in-wheelchairs or bulky luggage.

Board the next Tung Chung Line train departing from either platform. Trains depart every 4 to 12 minutes.

The Tung Chung Line shares the track alignment with the Airport Express. If you are getting to Tsing Yi, Kowloon or Hong Kong, this line serves you well as a local service at a fraction of the Airport Express fare.


Inside the Adtranz-CAF EMU (A-Train).

While the seats are of the typical MTR standard instead of the big, plushy ones on board the Airport Express, the speed of the train is the same and you’ll probably just experience a minor slow down of a couple of minutes as the train makes additional stops at Sunny Bay, Lai King, Nam Cheong and Olympic.

If you are heading to the Tsim Sha Tsui area like me, you should get off at Nam Cheong and change to the West Rail Line to East Tsim Sha Tsui. This is a shorter and quicker route than to change at Lai King to the Tseun Wan Line to Tsim Sha Tsui station.


Once you have gotten off the train at Nam Cheong, find the signs pointing to the train bound for Hung Hom.

Head downstairs to the transfer concourse.


Head up again to the West Rail Line Hung Hom-bound platform.

Trains on the West Rail Line operate with 7- or 8-car formations, though the majority of trains running now are formed with 8 cars. All trains will run in 8-car formations by the end of 2018.

Inside the SP1900 EMU.

The lenghtened SP1900 8-car trains are also installed with new dynamic route map displays, which in my opinion, may be the most user-friendly dynamic route map in the world.

Get off the train at East Tsim Sha Tsui station if you are heading to the Tsim Sha Tsui area. The station is connected to the Tsim Sha Tsui station on the Tsuen Wan Line by a massive network of public underpasses.


Use the wide fare gates if you have bulky items.

The Tsim Sha Tsui – East Tsim Sha Tsui station is a massive sprawling network of underpasses, with travellators on some linkways to make the walk more comfortable and quicker. Remember to check which exit you should head too and try not to get lost inside.

Enjoy your 4 days of unlimited MTR rides!


As a recap…

The “3 consecutive days” of the Airport Express Travel Pass as defined on MTR’s website mentions that “(t)he 3 days starts from the recorded entry time of the first MTR train journey and lasts for 72 hours plus any additional hours up to the end of train service on the last day“, which means it’s for 4 actual days of unlimited travel. You benefit the most if you have a long first and/or last day to maximise the pass.

If you return the pass after utilizing its value, you will also get a refund of HK$50. Deducting it from the actual cost, you are only actually paying HK$200 for 4 days of MTR travel including an Airport Express journey. This certainly beats buying 3 separate MTR Tourist Day Passes which would cost you HK$65 x 3 = HK$195 and does not get you an Airport Express ride to or from the city.

To save even more, you can pre-purchase your Airport Express Travel Pass from Klook and pick it up at the designated airport counter!

If it’s your first booking through Klook, get a FREE $4.30*/RM12.90* voucher for your first purchase when you sign up here!
*subject to exchange rate

Purchase your discounted Airport Express Travel Pass here!

 

KLIA Transit: Getting to KLIA and klia2 by Train for RM4.70?!

The KLIA Transit is the all-stop service of the more popularly used KLIA Ekspres by tourists. At first glance, both the KLIA Ekspres and KLIA Transit have the same RM55 fare from KL Sentral. Some have already figured out that by stopping at an intermediate station such as Putrajaya & Cyberjaya or Salak Tinggi and waiting for the next train, you do save more than half of the fare.

But what if I tell you that it is possible to pay only a minimal fare starting from RM4.70 to get from a station on the KLIA Transit line to KLIA or klia2?

First off, the “premium” KLIA Transit fares are for journeys to KLIA and klia2 from KL Sentral and Bandar Tasik Selatan, potentially to discourage you from taking the KLIA Transit and just pay the full RM55 for the KLIA Ekspres instead. However, with a bit of perseverance, let’s make this as cheap as possible.

Here’s a look at the current KLIA Transit fare table. You would notice that the cheapest “transit point” to split your journey is Salak Tinggi. However, did you know that there are also FREE bus services from Salak Tinggi to KLIA and klia2?

In summary, these are the KLIA Transit fares from the stations along the line to Salak Tinggi:

  • Putrajaya & Cyberjaya – Salak Tinggi: RM4.70
  • Bandar Tasik Selatan – Salak Tinggi: RM12.40
  • KL Sentral – Salak Tinggi: RM18.30

If you are travelling from KL city, it would be the wisest choice to take the LRT to Bandar Tasik Selatan and change to the KLIA Transit to Salak Tinggi. Of course, you would have the best deal if you are coming from Putrajaya & Cyberjaya.



While the KLIA Transit is an all-stop local service, each stop probably takes up to an extra of 2 minutes of travel time on the line, which is pretty fast anyway.


Being a local service also means having a higher passenger carrying capacity on board the train. You may need to stand for your journey during peak hours.



Push the button to open doors.

Now that you are at Salak Tinggi, the magic begins.



Exit the station with your minimal fare paid.

Wait for the Bas SMART Selangor SPG01 or SPG02 to go to KLIA or klia2. If you are heading to klia2, you also have an additional option of taking the BTG02.

The Bas SMART Selangor services serving ERL Salak Tinggi will stop at the external porch, marked by the bus stop sign.

The bus routes information at Salak Tinggi ERL Station.

Click on the image to enlarge.

The SPG02 bus arriving from Bandar Baru Salak Tinggi. Do look out for the direction of the bus as the SPG02 stops at Salak Tinggi ERL Station on both bounds.




Inside the Bas SMART Selangor Sepang bus. Pretty comfortable, but also the reclining seats were chosen possibly due to the long distances the bus travels on the Sepang routes.

It is important to note that the Bas SMART Selangor is not a dedicated Salak Tinggi – KLIA shuttle. The bus picks up passengers along the way. But it’s free, so no complains at all.



The familiar KLIA control tower is in sight.

Making a short stop at KLIA. There is no bus stop sign here, however pick-up and drop-off is at Door 4.

The journey from Salak Tinggi ERL Station to KLIA takes about 30 minutes.

Heading on to the KLIA Extension Highway to make a u-turn to klia2.

Making the scenic flyover u-turn across the highway.


klia2 is in sight.

Wave to those on the KLIA Ekspres who didn’t know about this free bus (but probably saved around 1 hour of their journey time).

Arriving at klia2.


The journey from Salak Tinggi ERL Station to klia2 takes about 35 minutes.

Overall, considering that this is a free bus service, the ride was actually more comfortable than a regular paid service due to the low ridership (for now) and comfy seats. Saving money on the KLIA Ekspres makes the journey even sweeter.

Even if you took the train from KL Sentral to Salak Tinggi, you would have paid only RM18.30 as compared to RM55, saving you RM36.70 which you could use to buy your AirAsia ticket during a zero fare sale, excluding the convenience fee.

Service Information for SPG01: Click Here
Service Information for SPG02: Click Here

Ride the Bas SMART Selangor to KLIA and klia2 if you have a bit of extra time to beat the KL jams and save some money!


BONUS TIP: Take a bus from KL to Putrajaya to save even more!

Nadi Putra Service 500 is an express bus service from Lebuh Pudu Bus Hub (MYDIN) to Putrajaya Sentral via the Maju Expressway, with a fare of RM4.00. It may not be the most logical option but if time is not an issue and you do not mind taking 3 modes of transport to get from KL to KLIA, your effort will only cost you a grand total of RM8.70!

Downtown Line Stage 3: A New Alternative for Changi Airport Access

The Downtown Line Stage 3 comprises of 16 stations from the city to the east, with the new terminus of the line at Expo Interchange. Most of the line runs parallel to the north of the East West Line, relieving some load off the latter. With Expo being an interchange station with the East West Line’s Changi Airport Extension, the completed Downtown Line running between Bukit Panjang and Expo with a loop around the city offers a new rail alternative to and from Changi Airport.

Transfers between the Downtown Line and the East West Line is seamless with a subway link connecting the two stations within the paid area. Just follow the signs towards the East West Line or Downtown Line, depending on which direction you are heading in.




The subway link connects to the existing paid concourse of the East West Line’s Expo station.


If you are transferring from the East West Line to the Downtown Line, the signs are clearly posted as well.

What may slow you down during the journey though, is the waiting time for the East West Line train to and from the airport, with the Changi Airport Extension operating at a slower frequency of 7 to 12 minutes.


The travel time between Expo and Changi Airport takes just 5 minutes.

Changi Airport MRT Station links directly to Terminal 2 and Terminal 3.

If you are heading to…

Terminal 1: Take the exit to either Terminal 2 or Terminal 3 Departures Level and transfer to the Skytrain to Terminal 1.
Terminal 2: Take the exit to Terminal 2.
Terminal 3: Take the exit to Terminal 3.
Terminal 4: Take the exit to Terminal 2 Arrivals Level and transfer to the T4 Free Shuttle Bus Service to Terminal 4.


From here, I headed to check-in for my Malindo flight to KL.


Bonus Hack!

Get from Terminal 4 directly to the Downtown Line

Instead of getting on the T4 Free Shuttle Bus Service to Terminal 2 and change to the East West Line to Expo Interchange and change again for the Downtown Line, you can take SBSTransit Bus Service 24 directly to Upper Changi MRT Station.


The T4 Bus Stand is located across the road from the terminal, which is accessible by an underpass from T4 Arrivals Level.

SBSTransit Bus Service 24 from Terminal 4 to Upper Changi MRT Station departs from the first berth of the T4 Bus Stand. The journey takes around 15 minutes.

BusTravel Station is now launched!

BusTravel Station is your one-stop integrated information portal and blog about what you can experience on your next bus journey. As somewhere you will sit for the next couple of hours, you want to make sure that you get as comfortable as possible since you’ll be stuck in a moving metal box to where you actually want to be.

And so that you would know what to pick before you actually purchase your ticket, I volunteer as tribute.

Why BusTravel Station?

The statistics gathered for the past month indicates that without the KTM service information pages, most visitors arrive at RailTravel Station for bus information. So, to further diversify my travel options and not dilute my existing RailTravel Station branding, bus posts on RailTravel Station will be migrated to BusTravel Station in time to come.

For bus experience seekers, I’ll see you over at BusTravel Station!

AeroBus/SkyBus (AeroSky Ventures): KL Sentral to klia2 by Express Bus

The most frequent bus route to klia2 is from KL Sentral, with AeroBus and SkyBus buses serving the route. And with a flight to catch, not wanting to risk missing it and not pay RM55, I opted to go to the airport by this method.

You might be thinking that both the AeroBus and SkyBus serves klia2 as competitors. Well, it’s true during the LCCT era, but they’ve merged some time ago and now operate as AeroSky Ventures for the klia2 – KL Sentral route, with tickets purchased from AeroBus or SkyBus valid for use on either company’s buses. Note that this applies for the klia2 – KL Sentral route only and not other routes still operating under the distinct AeroBus or SkyBus names.

BusTravel Station Redirect 02 620

Click here to find the information that you are looking for!