RushOwl ECP On-Demand Bus (R50) within East Coast Park
The RushOwl ECP On-Demand Bus (R50) is a new bus service connecting Bedok MRT Station to East Coast Park landmarks and attractions, operating on Saturdays, Sundays, and Public Holidays from 7.00 am to 9.00pm. Compared to a regular shuttle bus service, the RushOwl ECP On-Demand Bus (R50) operates with pre-booking via the RushTrail app, available for download on iOS and Android mobile devices.
Here’s my experience on using the RushOwl ECP On-Demand Bus (R50) from East Coast Lagoon Food Village to Parkland Green to try out an intra-East Coast Park bus trip, which turned out to be a grand tour of Bedok and East Coast Park.
How to book RushOwl ECP On-Demand Bus (R50)
Bundle Deal > Single Ticket
A Single Ticket for the RushOwl ECP On-Demand Bus (R50) costs S$2.00 per passenger, regardless of the distance, and the Bundle Deal on offer goes for S$2.00 for 2 rides.
With such a pricing, it’s a no-brainer to purchase a Bundle Deal, really. Bundle Deal tickets are open-dated and you can use it at any time and on any RushOwl ECP On-Demand Bus (R50) route.
Payment is made directly on the RushTrail app by credit card.
Booking the Journey
The interface is pretty self-explanatory. You can tap on either the map or the list of stops to choose your pick up and drop off points.
Do note the spelling error of Parkland Green. Parklane is on Selegie Road, and nope, this bus doesn’t go that far. Maybe RushOwl is trying to get some free SEO ranking out of this spelling.
Once done selecting the route and departure time, select payment type. Remember to go for the Bundle Deal of S$2.00 for 2 credits!
When booked with credits, the confirmation for my ride was instant.
East Coast Lagoon Food Village
I headed out of East Coast Lagoon Food Village after finishing my “小杯” (small cup) S$2.50 sugar cane juice (ouch) since seats are scarce in hawker centres now, and I didn’t want to hold up other people looking for a table.
I guess this is the bus stop pole for the RushOwl ECP On-Demand Bus (R50).
Not a good omen.
The departure info was not shown yet as it was still more than 5 minutes to the departure window.
My estimated departure time is assigned about 5 minutes before the departure window begins.
RushOwl ECP On-Demand Bus (R50) 12-Seater Van
The RushOwl ECP On-Demand Bus (R50) operates with a single 12-seater van, more than sufficient to cover each 30-minute departure window.
On boarding, tell the driver your boarding code, or show your RushTrail app ride screen.
The driver also confirmed if my app says exactly what we both thought was strange – that I’m going to Bedok MRT first.
The interior of the RushOwl ECP On-Demand Bus (R50) 12-seater van.
Departing from East Coast Lagoon Food Village
As compared with my private ride before, this ride was shared with 2 groups of passengers in total.
Heading out of East Coast Park Service Road.
Heading over the East Coast Parkway (ECP).
The journey to Bedok MRT Station was very quick with green lights all the way.
Making a brief stop to drop off a group of passengers from East Coast Lagoon Food Village, and picking up a new group to East Coast Lagoon Food Village.
Heading from Bedok MRT Station to East Coast Lagoon Food Village again.
East Coast Lagoon Food Village
Entering East Coast Lagoon Food Village again to drop off the group of passengers from Bedok MRT Station. I wonder why the RushTrail app didn’t just ask me to wait for this timing instead.
Heading out to East Coast Park Service Road.
Interestingly, the RushOwl ECP On-Demand Bus (R50) did not take the slightly faster ECP highway route, but continued all the way on East Coast Park Service Road.
Approaching Parkland Green.
The RushOwl ECP On-Demand Bus (R50) will turn in to the Parkland Green car park to the Pick Up / Drop Off Point proper.
The journey from East Coast Lagoon Food Village to Parkland Green took 24 minutes with the ride going via Bedok MRT Station and East Coast Lagoon Food Village. If it were direct, it would have taken 10 minutes, but it would mean I would board later instead.
The Pick Up / Drop Off Point at Parkland Green is right in the middle of the complex near Ernsports and Starbucks.
Parkland Green is made up of 4 flat blocks of food and sports outlets. It has an open field with direct access to the beach.
There is also an underpass connecting Parkland Green and FairPrice Finest Marine Parade Central, which is near Parkway Parade and 84 Marine Parade Central Market and Food Centre.
The ride from East Coast Lagoon Food Village to Parkland Green was significantly longer than usual with backtracking. I guess this is a side-effect of only having 1 van for each departure period operating like a ride-share. The routing might also be due to a lack of demand for intra-East Coast Park journeys with most users getting around by foot or bicycle, instead of a very new “On-Demand Bus”.
But overall, I see a good potential for the RushOwl ECP On-Demand Bus (R50) to be quite popular once COVID-19 restrictions are further eased. While it’s not truly on-demand, but more like a ride-share, the departure frequency during operational hours is fair enough for a leisure bus route.
However, the RushOwl ECP On-Demand Bus (R50) currently operates in 3 distinct windows:
Morning: 8.00am – 11.00am
Afternoon: 12.00pm – 2.30pm
Evening: 6.00pm – 9.00pm
As such, there is a 3.5-hour gap from 2.30pm to 6.00pm with no bus service. This is quite an issue when considering that this is a Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays leisure bus service. This afternoon gap is exactly the time when people are starting to head to parks to spend some leisure time after lunch and before dinner.
With SBS Transit Bus Service 401 continuing to be suspended, there is still no bus service serving East Coast Park in the afternoon. The RushOwl ECP On-Demand Bus (R50) will probably see more passengers if it closes this peak gap.