I finally made it in time to catch the once a day SBS premium bus 539 that would bring me direct from Pasir Ris Drive 1 to Robinsons Road in a matter of 40 minutes. This effectively saves me from having to start my day counting down the gruelling 20 minutes that the commuter bus takes to send me to the interchange to catch the morning rush hour train.
Similarly SMRT premium service number 531 picks me up from the same bus stop between 6.10pm and 6.40pm and takes me to Simei MRT station where I hop onto bus 9 straight home.
No more having to squeeze with hundreds of people trying to make their way into and out of the MRT station at peak hours, not to mention getting squashed while attempting to get on the train. I am almost always guaranteed a seat compared to a tiny sliver of floor to balance on the train.
The only caveat is the cost of these bus services. My normal journey would add up to not more than $4.50 a day. The cost of this slice of luxury is $7.60 per day, which totals to about $80 more a month. Is it worth it? I say yes for the following reasons –
1. Whether it is to start the day positively or be in the right frame of mind when I reach home, being able to sit idly for 30 minutes to think the day through or commune with God is very refreshing. It would be difficult to establish this kind of peace on the train when people are constantly shuffling around while your legs are aching from standing.
2. The buses traverse the East Coast Parkway (ECP) and I dare say this is one of the more scenic expressways in Singapore. It flanks the East Coast Park for most of its journey which is quite a sight in the early morning as the sun beams through the trees in the park and over the horizons of the waters.
It then crosses the new Marina South developments where the three towering blocks of Marina Bay Sands greets you on one side and the Gardens by the Bay (which is still under construction) on the other. The journey back is equally enjoyable with views of the Fullerton Hotel, Marina Bay front, Esplanade and the F1 race track viewed from the Benjamin Sheares Bridge. You can neither appreciate these sights from the train, nor while trying to manuever the rush hour traffic in your own car.
3. Buses have been around for such a long time, ever since we were children rushing to schools in them. I always thought that they would be phased out sooner or later as the main form of transport since the MRT could deliver commuters in larger numbers, faster and cheaper. But there is a simple pleasure in hopping onto the bus at the exact pick up time every day, finding that same cozy seat, and slumping down for a relaxing morning or evening ride home while enjoying the Singapore landscape, knowing that the uncle would drop you at the bus stop right in front of your house.