Public bus services to Johor resume, attracting day trippers and Malaysians going home
When public bus services to Johor Bahru resumed on Sunday (May 1), Mr Tan Zhi Ming, 40, was one of many who hopped on bus service 950 for a ride across the Causeway.
Mr Tan, an IT professional, took the bus from the Woodlands Temporary Bus Interchange for a day trip with his partner, dance teacher Pichmutta P., 26.
He said: "Before the Covid-19 pandemic, this was how we travelled to Johor to see friends, eat and shop.
"We live in Hougang and there is a straight bus from there to this interchange, so this is the fastest way for us to get across to Malaysia."
This was the couple's first trip to Malaysia since 2020, and they will return to Singapore on Monday.
Most buses running the service, a loop from the Woodlands interchange to the Johor Bahru checkpoint, were full or nearly full when they left the station on Sunday morning.
Public bus services from Singapore to Malaysia had been suspended since 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic forced the two countries to close their land borders.
Cross-border taxi services also restarted on Sunday - about a month after the two countries reopened fully to entry for vaccinated travellers.
On April 22, the Land Transport Authority said SBS Transit would reinstate its bus services 160, 170 and 170X. Services 160 and 170 had been running limited routes during the pandemic, without crossing into Malaysia.
Bus 160 runs from Jurong East Interchange to the Johor Bahru checkpoint, while buses 170 and 170x travel from Queen Street in Dhoby Ghaut to Larkin Terminal in Johor Bahru.
Aside from commuters, the restarting of service 950 also attracted bus enthusiasts Neo Kai Yan, 17 and Zaxis Tay, 13.
The pair were at Woodlands Temporary Bus Interchange at about 10.30am to snap a shot of a specific angle of bus service 950 leaving its berth.
Zaxis, a student who has watched and snapped pictures of Singapore's buses with friends since 2019, said: "For the community, the first day and the last day of a service running are big things.
"950 has been suspended for over two years, so this sort of counts as a first day again."
The resumption of public bus services also means a return of cheap and convenient transit between the two countries for many.
Style adviser Echeru Padamanathan, 27, who was in line for bus service 950 at about 11am on Sunday, said the bus is his preferred mode of transport.
He said: "It's fast and it saves me a lot of money."
Mr Padamanathan, who is a Malaysian working in Singapore, said it was the first time he was going home to Johor Bahru in over two years.
He is planning to surprise his parents, who did not know he was returning.
He said: "I've been quite busy with work so I decided to let things settle down before making the trip. I'm excited to get home."