The Journey With Us @ Bukit Batok Bus Interchange – SMRT Community Engagement & Career Fair was held on 14 & 15 November 2014 from 0900hrs to 1800hrs at Bukit Batok Bus Interchange.
The event provided a platform for SMRT to showcase its operational capabilities, while educating the public on various aspects of everyday bus operations. In addition, a bus simulator and static display buses provided for hands-on experience, and job-seekers could sign up for job opportunities with SMRT.
SMRT Bus Service 990 was launched in conjunction with this carnival by Member of Parliament for Jurong GRC – Mdm Halimah Yacob.
This is the second Bus Carnival organised by SMRT, the first being in September 2014. The writeup of the first carnival (organised in collaboration with e2i) can be found here.
The second edition of “Journey With Us”, entitled “Journey With Us @ BBI”), was first hinted by SMRT through their official Facebook page on 28 October 2014. Finalized event details were released over their Facebook page on 31 October 2014.
Promotional posters were placed on the notice board behind the bus captains’ cabin onboard most SMRT Buses.
A: Static Bus Displays
For the carnival static bus display, SMRT decided to showcase 3 buses for Journey With Us @ BBI. The 3 buses are as follows:
- Alexander Dennis Enviro500 – SMB5012T
- Batch 3 MAN A22 – SMB1483T
- Mercedes-Benz O530 Citaro – SMB140P
SMB5012T is an Alexander Dennis Enviro500, SMRT’s first model of double-deck bus which replaces their retiring high capacity bendy buses. This particular bus is freshly registered and has yet to be deployed on revenue service. Note the full red SMRT logo replaces the older logo which has its lower half in black.
SMB1483T is a Batch 3 MAN NL323F (A22), just one of many among SMRT’s latest influx of wheelchair-accessible 12-metre buses intended for fleet-wide replacement and renewal.
SMB140P is the first Mercedes-Benz Citaro to bear SMRT’s new livery, and part of SMRT’s small fleet of just 51 Citaros, all of which were manufactured in Germany. This bus was also showcased during the first SMRT Bus Carnival in September 2014.
Buses on static display were fully open to the public, and electric fans provided ventilation within the bus as vehicle electronics were turned off. Visitors were given the opportunity to explore the driver’s cabin and take photographs freely. SMRT also deployed staff at each bus to facilitate the flow of visitors, and prevent tampering of equipment.
It was noted that the rims and tyres of all static display buses got a fresh coat of black paint and polishing (for SMB140P and SMB1483T) specially for this carnival.
At specific timings, a guided tour was conducted by SMRT Maintenance Crew on the static display buses, which included a brief introduction to engine components. Free gifts were awarded for correctly answered questions, with winners walking away with a travel cutlery set.
B: Launch of SMRT Bus Service 990
On 15 November 2014 at 0930hrs, SMRT Bus Service 990 was officially launched by Madam Halimah Yaccob, Grassroots Advisor to Jurong GRC Grassroots Organisation, Speaker of Parliament and MP for Jurong GRC.
Specially invited guests were invited onboard SMB3113Z on a special trip following the route of Service 990 from Bukit Batok Int to Toh Guan Road. Mdm Halimah then interacted with residents of Toh Guan before boarding back SMB3100K to Bukit Batok Int via PIE.
C: Exhibition Area
The exhibition area was located at the hard court beside Bukit Batok Bus Interchange (near Blk 628A MSCP). The exhibition showcases various aspects of SMRT’s bus operations, such as technology, safety, and traveling experience. A career booth was also set up to promote a career with SMRT Buses and available job vacancies. The biggest attraction, as usual, was the bus driving simulator, featuring a full mock up of an SMRT MAN NL323F (A22).
C1 – Bus Simulator:
The main attraction was a full-sized mockup bus simulator, the same one which debuted in the first carnival, featuring an actual driver’s console onboard a MAN A22. Three sets of large projectors displayed the simulation through the front and the two side view mirrors. The simulation software was jointly developed with ST Electronics (Training & Simulation Systems).
The new featured route took visitors though a simulation of SMRT Bus Service 990. Each visitor was entitled to roughly three minutes on the simulator.
One key improvement to the simulator was the incorporation of haptic feedback to the steering wheel, which better emulates the counteracting forces when the bus is turned. The simulator present at the previous carnival had no haptic feedback.
Another improvement as compared to the previous carnival was that there was a SMRT Training Instructor beside the driver to guide the user on his/her simulated driving. Guidance such as to slow down before turning and how many turns the steering wheel should be turned were given.
C2: Bus Technology
The technology exhibit showcases various technologies which SMRT integrates with their bus operations.
SMaRT Solutions (NEC):
SMRT plans to integrate smarter technology into everyday bus operations to both optimize resources and improve commuter experience. The new interactive bus information panel (BIP) was launched at Bukit Batok Bus Interchange during the carnival. Student Service Ambassadors from Bukit View Secondary School were manning the booth on the first day, introducing the BIP to the public. A representative from NEC was manning the booth for the second day.
View the Bukit Batok Interchange Service Improvement video here, featuring the interactive panel. (BBI Service Improvements – SMRT Official Facebook)
The new interactive panel features (for all bus services at the interchange)
- Next & subsequent bus departure timings by service
- Route information and fares for individual service
- Map of berth location by service
- Journey planner
- Feedback form
An information panel at Berth B3 was also launched which featured the next 2 departure timings for services 106/106A & 990.
Bus Operations Control Centre & Service Control Management System:
Similar to the previous bus carnival, the Bus Service Reliability Framework (BSRF) monitoring station was showcased, featuring buses with telematics data on SMRT BSRF routes (176, 184, 188, 189, 302, 853, 858, 901, 911 and 962) as a blue dot on a map of Singapore. The individual buses can be sorted according to their route, allowing controllers to monitor the frequency of these services and take necessary action to maintain the BSRF requirements.
Following feedback from the previous carnival, a new control kiosk allowed visitors to have a hands on experience in tracking buses and monitoring the BSRF key performance indicators for the various services.
The control kiosk would be available at all SMRT Bus Interchanges to allow individual bus captains to be able to reflect on their driving issues such as speeding, sharp cornering, harsh braking and harsh acceleration. The control kiosk would also be able to print the payslips of individual bus captains as well as allow them to apply their leaves from work.
C3: Traveling Experience
The service excellence booth allows carnival attendees to showcase their gratitude to SMRT staff by providing post-its for the attendees to pen down their appreciation message. These messages are then showcased on the giant appreciation board for all to see. Upon submitting the encouraging message, the attendees would be given a copy of the corporate newsletter SMRT n I (Issue 03 Oct 2014), with free bus bookmarks included.
C4: Training And Recruitment
As part of the fair, SMRT had also set up a career booth to attract job seekers. Positions available included Route Controller, BOCC controller, Operation Supervisor, Despatch Starter and more.
The company also promoted their new progressive career scheme for bus drivers with clear advancement pathways. Since last year, drivers can upgrade themselves to higher salary ranges with each progression, using a competency framework for skills upgrading in areas such as customer service, leadership management and technical knowledge.
C: Kiddy Rides & Refreshments
Kiddy Rides, located inside the makeshift tentage, were provided free for young children who tag along with their parents. Refreshments such as popcorn and cotton candy were available free of charge at the refreshment booth.
D: Adopt An Interchange
The Adopt-An-Interchange programme by SMRT was launched on the first day of the carnival, 14 November 2014. Bukit Batok Bus Interchange was adopted by both Bukit View and Bukit Batok Secondary Schools.
The students in performing arts groups from both schools will be performing at the Interchange throughout 2015 while other students will be serving as volunteer Service Ambassadors. They will demonstrate and guide commuters to the use of the new Interactive Panels as part of their Values in Action (VIA) contribution.
Hosting the carnival at Bukit Batok Int, and organising the launch of Service 990 in conjunction has increased the number of carnival attendees and also engaged more people as compared to the previous carnival. The overall carnival experience has improved as SMRT picks up lessons from its earlier carnival in September. With the carnival going to be hosted every few months in other SMRT interchanges, we might expect more events such as new bus service launch to be in conjunction with these carnivals.