Unexplained delays and stops, three dirty and smelly busses, plus “we were abandoned without explanation at the Woodlands checkpoint though the bus was supposed to drop us off at Lavender MRT,” wrote a woman named Ms Sue to TISG about a recent trip to Singapore from Malaysia.

And while she emailed the bus company, Billion Stars Express, as well as the ticketing website Easybook after her ordeal, Ms Sue, a Malaysian national and Singapore PR pursuing postgraduate studies here, has yet to get a response.

She wrote that she left Bandar Utama at 1pm on Oct 11 on a Billion Stars Express bus, expecting to arrive in Singapore after five to six hours.

However, the trip took nearly double that time.

“When I reached my home in Singapore it was 11 hours after and I was completely exhausted from the craziness of this bus service,” she said.

And while she has taken buses in Europe, America, Africa, and Asia, she says her recent experience was the worst.

Ms Sue also added screenshots of very poor reviews of the bus company online, adding that she had failed to check these before booking as she had been in the middle of a family emergency when she booked her trip via Easybook.

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Ms Sue’s trip had been on three buses, all of which were dirty.

The first bus “was largely dirty, and the curtains were flimsy and grimy.” The second bus “was dirtier than the other bus where the seats and curtains had the fragrance of a sweaty changing room … My seat had someone’s old mask and bits of food around it.”

As for the bus drivers, the first one, while friendly enough, changed clothes inside the bus after using the public toilet at Bandar Utama to shower and did not help passengers, even the elderly, with their luggage.

He also failed to communicate clearly “the length and purpose of a stop .… It seems like he himself have given up on this company as well.”

As for the journey itself, in addition to a nearly 3-hour delay in leaving Bandar Utama, the bus encountered problems and had to be replaced, which led to more delays.

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“At around 6pm we turned off the highway near Malacca without warning or any notification and suddenly stopped by the side of the road. Only when asked after about 5-10 minutes of waiting, we found out from the driver that the bus gears can’t work properly and he was now waiting to change bus again. This would be the 3rd bus we would have been on in the last 5 hours.”

The bus finally reached Woodlands checkpoint past ten o’clock, and the second driver told the passengers to take all their luggage through the first checkpoint.

“I overheard another passenger asking him to confirm that he was going to wait on the other side and he nodded curtly, I thought that was strange.”

After going through the Singapore checkpoint where we were asked to bring all our luggage and belongings down again (this I expected), I waited with the remaining passengers at the coach area for our bus to pick us up to drop off at Lavender MRT,” Ms Sue told TISG.

However, while they “waited and waited,” the bus did not pick her and the remaining passengers up again.

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She then found out that the bus had left.

Another bus driver told her that their bus driver had said he would only drop them off at Woodlands.

“He used to work for this company and only lasted 2 months before he quit as he said the management was very very bad and it seems like everyone in the industry knows this is one of the worst bus services and encouraged us to never ever book or travel with them again.”

This bus driver, however, agreed to bring them to Lavender MRT, where they arrived at 11:15 pm.

Ms Sue told us that since she has not gotten answers to her emails, she said she wishes to warn other commuters after her bad experience.

“I do not want others to go through my experience or lose money or time like the many others,” she added. /TISG

Letter to the Editor: ‘Can SBS mgmt educate bus drivers to show more love & concern to the elderly & wheelchair bound?’