Cityline Travel Express Bus from Oasia Hotel Novena to Bangsar LRT
Cityline Travel is a new Singapore-based express bus operator on Malaysia cross-border express bus routes, running to destinations popular with Singaporeans such as Melaka, KL, and Genting. There was an Easybook promotion with Cityline Travel offering limited S$9.80 one-way tickets from Singapore to KL on the new Novena-Bangsar route, so for my next KL trip, I decided to try out Cityline Travel on this new route booked from Easybook.
Oasia Hotel Novena
Oasia Hotel Novena is located near Novena MRT Station, and opposite Velocity @ Novena Square where First Coach operates to 1 Utama.
The driveway of Oasia Hotel Novena.
My promotion ticket from Easybook for my Cityline Travel express bus from Oasia Hotel Novena to Bangsar LRT Station.
A First Coach was also preparing for departure to 1 Utama a few steps away.
The entrance to Oasia Hotel Novena seemed closed. Luckily I headed to the toilet already on the way to this pick-up point.
At 7.42am, my Cityline Travel bus arrived at Oasia Hotel Novena on the main road. PZ1688H, a Singapore bus, will be operating on my cross-border express bus to KL.
Tickets are checked by the driver at the door upon boarding.
The interior of the Cityline Travel bus. Seats are in a 2+1 configuration with a sloped interior and high glass windows catering for its former life as an RMG Tours tour bus.
It was a gloomy morning, hence the dark photo. The interior lights were not switched on.
My seat at 16 which was pre-reclined and the curtains drawn.
The legroom available on board Cityline Travel. The legroom is generous despite being a 10-row bus as the bus length seems to be longer. However, there is no calf rest on this Vogelsitze seat.
There is just 1 hook and 1 handle on the seat back in front of me, with no pocket for storage.
To my horror, there is no individual air-conditioning vent on board this bus, but the temperature was still reasonably cool with the gloomy morning. This will unfortunately not be the case later on in the journey.
Not many passengers boarded at Oasia Hotel Novena. Nevertheless, this bus will head to Buona Vista MRT Station and Jurong East MRT Station to pick up more passengers en route to Tuas Checkpoint.
My Cityline Travel bus departed from Oasia Hotel Novena on time at 7.45am.
Seconds from disaster.
Upon departure on the immediate u-turn outside Velocity, my Cityline Travel bus met with a minor sideswipe accident with an illegally-parked lorry. This resulted in a few minutes of delay and the attraction of the First Coach passengers during their boarding.
The situation seems to be settled quickly as the illegally-parked lorry moved ahead to allow my Cityline bus to continue making the u-turn.
Turning out of the small Sinaran Drive stump on to Sinaran Drive.
Turning out on to Thomson Road.
Heading around Newton Circus.
Heading on Bukit Timah Road.
Turning on to Farrer Road at Serene Centre.
The very glassy and slightly sloped bus interior allows for some trainspotting from my seat in the middle of the bus.
Turning on to North Buona Vista Road for Buona Vista MRT Station.
Passing by the Buona Vista Stn Exit D.
Buona Vista MRT Station Exit D
Making a brief stop at the pick-up point outside Buona Vista MRT Station Exit D. This is on the Circle Line side.
This stop allows me to take a bit more interior photos in better lighting before more passengers boarded.
My seat at 16.
The legroom available on board Cityline Travel.
There is an emergency exit on the right side in the middle of the bus just beside my seat. This also allows for an alternative tourist exit during its previous life as a tour bus.
The driver alights from the bus to look out for the passengers boarding at Buona Vista MRT Station.
My Cityline Travel bus departed from Buona Vista MRT Station Exit D at 8.08am – 7 minutes early with all booked passengers on board.
Heading down to the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE).
There was a bit of a jam on the AYE as usual on a morning towards Jurong and Tuas. The early departure from Buona Vista MRT Station helped keep the bus on schedule to Jurong East MRT Station.
Turning to Jurong East MRT Station Private Bus Pick Up Point.
My Cityline Travel arrived at Jurong East Private Bus Pick Up Point Berth 5 at 8.29am – 1 minute early. However, the booked passengers from Jurong East MRT Station were nowhere in sight.
Traffic wardens were quick to wave the bus off to prevent congestion and to allow many other private buses to enter the berth for the morning peak office shuttle bus crowd.
Departing from Jurong East Private Bus Pick Up Point at a slow speed as the driver continues to attempt to reach the missing passengers by phone, who informed him that they were still at Jurong East MRT Station.
The driver apologised to everyone on board for the delay and to wait a while for the missing passengers.
Heading back to Jurong East Private Bus Pick Up Point again to attempt to pick up the missing passengers.
A few minutes of waiting later, and they had finally showed up.
My Cityline Travel bus departed from Jurong East MRT Station Private Bus Pick Up Point at 8.40am – 10 minutes delayed due to the late passengers boarding from Jurong East MRT Station.
Passing under the MRT viaducts at Gul Circle while heading to Tuas Checkpoint on the AYE.
There was just a short bus queue after entering Tuas Checkpoint, which went without a hitch. Singapore immigration is done here. An announcement was made by the driver to just alight with passports, and bags can be left on board the bus.
My Cityline Travel bus departed from Tuas Checkpoint at 9.19am.
Crossing the Second Link Bridge to Malaysia.
No jams this weekday morning.
Tanjung Kupang Sultan Abu Bakar CIQ Complex
There were no queues when entering Tanjung Kupang Sultan Abu Bakar CIQ Complex. Malaysia immigration and customs are done here. An announcement was made by the driver to alight with all belongings.
I (Singaporean) used the Autogate to enter Malaysia at Tanjung Kupang Sultan Abu Bakar CIQ Complex as I was entering and exiting Malaysia by bus. The Autogate for MACS 2.0 on the right side of the hall had very slow to no response, but I got through after some major lag at the 4th try on the 3rd different machine.
Malaysians had the option of using the older Autogate on the left side of the hall, which went without a hitch for all of them.
Re-boarding the bus after immigration and customs.
A brighter interior of the Cityline Travel bus now that the clouds had cleared.
There was a driver change here, and a Malaysian tour guide boarded the Cityline Travel bus as this is a Singapore bus licensed in Malaysia as Bas Persiaran (excursion bus), and a licensed Malaysian tour guide must be hired to be on board the bus when travelling in Malaysia.
The tour guide introduced himself and the new driver, and briefed about the journey to Bangsar LRT Station and Subang Jaya Railway Station and LRT Station, via a 25-minute rest stop at Ming Ang Restaurant Yong Peng.
He also reminded passengers to double-check the immigration stamp, which is targeted to foreigners who do not use the Autogate. Singaporeans who use the Autogate to enter Malaysia will not receive a passport stamp.
My Cityline Travel bus departed from Tanjung Kupang Sultan Abu Bakar CIQ Complex at 9.51am.
Heading through Tanjung Kupang Toll Plaza.
Heading through Lima Kedai Toll Plaza.
Heading through Senai Utara Toll Plaza, entering the closed toll system on the main North-South Expressway.
Merging onto the main North-South Expressway.
300km to KL.
The scenery from the North-South Expressway.
Heading through Yong Peng North Toll Plaza, out of the North-South Expressway.
Turning left towards the rest stop.
Passing by the closed-down Lucky Garden Yong Peng.
Entering Ming Ang Restaurant Yong Peng.
Lots of coaches are here, mostly operators heading to and from Singapore.
My Cityline Travel bus arrived at Ming Ang Restaurant Yong Peng at 11.07am. An announcement was made by the tour guide to be back on the bus by 11.35am, making this a 28-minute break.
Ming Ang Restaurant Yong Peng
The usual food available at Ming Ang Restaurant Yong Peng with prices on the steeper side.
On the right of the row of shops, there is now a Muslim Indonesian food stall, and I decided to try this new stall out on this trip.
The price list for food at this new Indonesian stall. Do note that the SST calculation is wrong for some items – the rate is 6%.
I ordered a Nasi Uduk for RM12.60 since it was the most Indonesian-sounding dish on the menu. Unfortunately it tastes quite Malaysian and plain.
Nasi Uduk is the Indonesian name for Nasi Lemak* but with different side dishes.
(*I note that this sentence might be offensive to both Malaysia and Indonesia sides, so maybe you’d appreciate the Wikipedia term of “Indonesian style steamed rice cooked in coconut milk dish” instead. Bon appétit.)
The rice was not lemak although there is a hint of coconut. The fried chicken was served cold and was coated in a tomato-based sauce, and the mie was mixed in with the vegetables, making it look more like cap cay. And perhaps most offending to Indonesians, no krupuk was offered with this rice dish.
I’m not sure if this dish should be called Nasi Uduk, but then again it’s not Nasi Lemak either, and definitely not Nasi Padang. Probably Nasi Campur would work, but without the freedom of choice.
Sigh, please just give me my simple highway R&Rs with a simple toilet and food truck. It will make the journey faster too.
I returned to the bus just in time, with all other passengers waiting. However, the bus was not ready for boarding at 11.35am. The tour guide was on hand, and told everyone to wait.
My Cityline Travel bus departed from Ming Ang Restaurant Yong Peng at 11.47am – 12 minutes delayed.
Some bad news was delivered to passengers bound for Subang Jaya at re-boarding – this Cityline bus will not be going to Subang Jaya, and will terminate at Bangsar LRT Station due to “problem”. It was not further explained what “problem” was.
However, Cityline will arrange a transfer by taxi from Bangsar LRT Station and compensate in cash to passengers bound for Subang Jaya.
Heading back to Yong Peng North Toll Plaza on to the North-South Expressway.
200km to go.
The bus got very warm at this point with the top window pane not shielded by curtains and the air-conditioning not powerful enough.
I headed to the front to ask the guide and driver to turn up the air-conditioning, which they tried, but did not cool the bus down satisfactorily.
I headed to the front again, and they informed me that the air-conditioning was already at maximum. Unfortunately there was nothing they or I could do, so I just sucked it up with a warm bus.
Not a pleasant experience to be in a glasshouse on wheels. This bus is suited for tours with short hops, but not a noontime highway journey to KL in the tropical sun.
Passing by Serdang Raya Selatan MRT Station.
Passing by an MRT Putrajaya Line train towards Putrajaya Sentral.
Approaching Sungai Besi Toll Plaza…
… or maybe not.
Sungai Besi Toll Plaza
The Cityline bus stopped before Sungai Besi Toll Plaza at 2.02pm for a toilet break.
glasshouse Cityline bus after my toilet break.
Heading through Sungai Besi Toll Plaza at 2.10pm.
Passing by Serdang Raya Utara MRT Station.
Petronas Petrol Station (After Sungai Besi Toll)
Making a brief stop at Petronas Petrol Station (After Sungai Besi Toll) to alight passengers who booked the stop there.
Heading through Pantai Dalam Utara Toll Plaza on the New Pantai Expressway (NPE).
Heading left towards Bangsar.
Heading through the Pantai Baru Interchange before Abdullah Hukum.
There was a bit of a jam on Jalan Bangsar heading towards Bangsar and KL Sentral.
Approaching Bangsar LRT Station.
Heads turned as the Cityline bus did not stop at Bangsar LRT Station. The tour guide then said we were going to make a u-turn to stop opposite.
U-turning at Jalan Travers just before KL Sentral.
Passing by the KTM tracks, KL Sentral Bangsar Suites (EST), and Alila Bangsar Kuala Lumpur.
Bangsar LRT Station
My Cityline bus arrived at Bangsar LRT Station at 2.32pm, making this a journey of 6 hours and 47 minutes from Novena.
This Cityline bus terminates here. Passengers to Subang Jaya were asked to remain on board while arrangements are made for their onward transfer. However, some passengers to Subang Jaya alighted at Bangsar LRT Station anyway and made their own alternative travel arrangements.
Bank Rakyat-Bangsar LRT Station
Heading up the escalator to Bank Rakyat-Bangsar LRT Station to continue my journey in KL.
Heading in to Bank Rakyat-Bangsar LRT Station.
From here, I continued my journey in to KL by LRT Kelana Jaya Line.
I only decided to try Cityline because of the Easybook promotional fare, and thankfully I paid the Easybook promotional fare for Cityline because I don’t think the full price of S$35 and S$40 for Bangsar and Subang Jaya is worth it.
My bus got into a minor accident barely a minute into the journey, there were 2 more stops in Singapore to make before proceeding to cross the border, a longer stop in Yong Peng than advertised, endured a very warm ride inside the glasshouse, and to top it all off, though I was not affected, my bus was truncated to Bangsar LRT Station and did not continue on to Subang Jaya for Subang Jaya passengers who paid the Subang Jaya price. The only saving grace was that the bus was on time for all stops in Singapore, but then again, to be on time is expected of.
I don’t think I’ll be on Cityline again some time soon.