Goodbye Ficus Bus Stop (Opp So Spa): Old Sentosa Bus Stop Design on Allanbrooke Road

Closure of Allanbrooke Road & Ficus Bus Stop (Opp So Spa) at Former Sentosa Monorail Station 6: Ficus Station

Allanbrooke Road on Sentosa was closed on 24 March 2021, following the opening of a new road to Tanjong Beach – Artillery Avenue South. Allanbrooke was a significant main road in the old Sentosa, linking Former Sentosa Monorail Station 6: Ficus Station with Tanjong Beach, Swimming Lagoon and Youth Hostel, and in modern, slightly older times, Dolphin Lagoon.

Together with the closure of Allanbrooke Road, 2 bus stops on it, Opp So Spa and So Spa, were closed too, marking a small milestone in the eradication of the old Sentosa.

Ficus Bus Stop & Allanbrooke Road Closed

Opp So Spa and So Spa were a pair of bus stops along Allanbrooke Road. In better times, Opp So Spa was called Ficus, and So Spa was called Allanbrooke.

Here’s a little history of Sentosa bus services serving Allanbrooke Road, if my memory serves me right:

Then probably called SDC Office before I was born (and maybe just after too), Sentosa Buses A and C under SBS Leisure called at SDC Office on the way to and from Tanjong Beach and Dolphin Lagoon. Sentosa Bus A operated between World Trade Centre Bus Terminal and Fort Siloso / Underwater World, and Sentosa Bus C operated between Tiong Bahru Bus Terminal and Central Beach.

It was later renamed Ficus after the Ficus tree located opposite Sentosa Monorail Station 6 towards Sentosa Golf Club Tanjong Golf Course.

After the end of SBS Leisure-operated Sentosa bus services, bus services were split at Visitor Arrival Centre, and domestic Sentosa services. Yellow Line served Ficus and Allanbrooke from Visitor Arrival Centre, and Red Line served Ficus and Allanbrooke from Underwater World. Red Line diffused traffic from the Sentosa Monorail by providing a faster bus link from Underwater World to Dolphin Lagoon, though sometimes not very successful when the Sentosa Monorail was the main attraction.

With the opening of the Sentosa Express and Beach Station, Yellow Line and Blue Line were re-routed to serve Beach Station, diverting down from Merlion.

When Resorts World at Sentosa opened, Red Line skipped the Ficus-Palawan Beach sector, and was re-routed to Resorts World at Sentosa instead.

Yellow Line then became Sentosa Bus 3, which in turn became Sentosa Bus B from 30 July 2017, as known today.

If I remember my Sentosa bus stops correctly, Ficus was the most unique to be, being located on a slope, and having the biggest bus stop sign of its namesake placed on both ends of the bus stop. The tight curve of the Sentosa Monorail tracks on approach from Palawan Beach to Ficus also unwittingly made the bus stop and display behind it a centerpiece before arrival.

Allanbrooke, meh, not so, with just a bus stop sign and a bench.

Most of the original Allanbrooke Road is now closed to all traffic. Looking up details from Google Maps and URA Space, this facilitates the development of Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa. The resort and spa are currently split by Allanbrooke Road, so removing it would make them one.

A short stump of the original Allanbrooke Road from this junction to SDC Office roundabout still remains (for now, unless it gets renamed to Bukit Manis Road soon), while the new main road to Sentosa Cove continues to bear the name Allanbrooke Road.

I last visited Ficus Bus Stop in 2020 while retracing the old Sentosa Monorail stations, not knowing that it would be my last visit and bus ride on the OG Allanbrooke Road.

The whole plot of land of this former “Ficus Interchange” here is gazetted as a Hotel on URA Space, so I’m not sure if the Ficus Station building will be able to stand the test of time.

EtonHouse Bus Stop

While Opp So Spa and So Spa bus stops on Allanbrooke Road are now closed forever, Station 6: Ficus Station is still directly served by EtonHouse bus stop on Sentosa Bus B. EtonHouse is located just opposite EtonHouse bus stop.

The map of Sentosa at EtonHouse bus stop has not reflected this road network change.

Sentosa Bus B Bus Ride from Palawan Beach on Artillery Avenue South

Sentosa Bus B now takes the new Artillery Avenue South to continue to serve Palawan Beach and the new So Spa bus stop opposite So Spa.

Conclusion

Writing the previous Sentosa Monorail stations article, and now this, me missing Sentosa in this day and age is a sign of me starting to whine about how things were better in the past, and a sign of me getting old.

While the old Sentosa was so expensive and nothing to see actually, the attraction for me to make time for a holiday has always been revolving around transport, even till today.

Catching the ferry from World Trade Centre, having a morning Burger King lunch menu at Ferry Terminal, then hopping on to the Sentosa Monorail or Open-Top Bus 2 for 1 or a few rounds around Sentosa was indeed Discovery Island to me, even without visiting attractions like Volcanoland, Asian Village, and Fantasy Island.

Eating A&W on Stewords Riverboat was sometimes a treat, with stuffy dinners at Sentosa Food Centre and a boring Musical Fountain show a disappointment back then, but I think I might enjoy it now as an adult. Thankfully, Kiki came to save the day when I was a proper kid, even for just a few years.

My only disappointment is that film cameras were pretty expensive to keep washing pictures out of, and phones were used to call people instead of a picture-taking device, so I don’t have much pictures of transportation memories on old Sentosa. Though I can probably still get around it without looking at a map if you were to create a VR version of it.

But alas, the key tourist landmark of Sentosa, the Merlion, has already been demolished. The old Sentosa may be slowly going off, but Sentosa is quickly progressing to be an international leisure and tourism destination year after year, next spilling over the fun to Pulau Brani, and that’s a worthwhile reason to keep developing.

Aaaaaaaand, we’re here!

Fare thee well, Ficus Bus Stop. My memories may remain with the old Sentosa, but today’s generation will remember the Sentosa of now as their old Sentosa. And however each generation enjoys on the island, the people were in a state of fun on the State of Fun.

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