Check out a vintage 1960s bus at first Singapore Bus Carnival

Top: A fare validator, which was used in the 1990s. Above: Before 1990, a bus conductor would dispense a bus ticket after punching a hole in it. A refurbished vintage bus from the 1960s will be on show.
A refurbished vintage bus from the 1960s will be on show.PHOTO: LTA
Top: A fare validator, which was used in the 1990s. Above: Before 1990, a bus conductor would dispense a bus ticket after punching a hole in it. A refurbished vintage bus from the 1960s will be on show.
Before 1990, a bus conductor would dispense a bus ticket after punching a hole in it.PHOTO: LTA
An old ticketing machine from the late 20th century.
An old ticketing machine from the late 20th century.PHOTO: LTA
TransitLink farecards from the 90s.
TransitLink farecards from the 90s.PHOTO: LTA
A bus ticket dispenser.
A bus ticket dispenser.PHOTO: LTA
In the early to mid-20th century, a bus conductor would dispense a bus ticket after punching a hole in it.
In the early to mid-20th century, a bus conductor would dispense a bus ticket after punching a hole in it.PHOTO: LTA

Way before the ubiquitous ez-link card entered Singaporeans' lives, taking a bus meant coming face-to-face with not just the driver, but also the bus conductor.

With a small satchel slung across his body and armed with a ticket puncher, the conductor would hand out tickets - small pieces of paper printed with rows of numbers - after passengers had paid their fares.

In the 1980s, the bus conductor was phased out and passengers deposited their fares into an automated receptacle upon boarding.

Commuters started using the fare card in 1990 and the ez-link card in 2002.

Now, they can relive those memories at the inaugural Singapore Bus Carnival, which starts today and runs till Sunday at Ngee Ann City's Civic Plaza.

Organised by the Land Transport Authority (LTA), the free roving event will move to VivoCity's Outdoor Plaza from March 25 to 27, and to HDB Hub in Toa Payoh from April 1 to 3.

 Before 1990, a bus conductor would dispense a bus ticket after punching a hole in it. A refurbished vintage bus from the 1960s will be on show.
A fare validator, which was used in the 1990s. PHOTO: LTA

  • VIEW IT / SINGAPORE BUS CARNIVAL

  • WHERE: Ngee Ann City, Civic Plaza

    WHEN: Today to Sunday, noon to 8pm

    WHERE: VivoCity, Outdoor Plaza

    WHEN: March 25 to 27, 11am to 8pm

    WHERE: Toa Payoh, HDB Hub

    WHEN: April 1 to 3

    ADMISSION: Free

    INFO: facebook.com/WeKeepYourWorldMoving

The carnival is divided into three zones - past, present and future. Visitors can check out a refurbished green vintage bus from the 1960s and other bus memorabilia such as a 1941 ticket machine and old concession passes, get behind the wheel of a bus simulator and find out about new initiatives such as e-paper displays for bus arrival information.

The exhibition comes during a new chapter for the industry as it transitions to a new contracting model, where the Government owns all bus infrastructure and operating assets.

The carnival celebrates this milestone, says Ms Helen Lim, LTA's group director of corporate communications, by "giving the public a glimpse of the nostalgic past, showcasing current industry updates and providing a peek at what is to come as we ride into the new chapter".

The new colour of public buses will also be unveiled today at the carnival after a public poll was conducted to choose between two colours - bright red or lush green.

Bus enthusiast Chris Lee will be at the carnival to share stories.

The 33-year-old laboratory technician is one of 10 bus fans who have loaned the festival organiser some of their treasured memorabilia.

Mr Lee, who has amassed more than 100 items since he started his collection in 1995, is excited to see the vintage bus in its former glory.

"I have seen this bus rotting for years in a scrap yard, so it's great that the LTA has cleaned it up and put it up for display."

 

Visitors can also chat with representatives from public transport operators such as bus captains and vehicle technicians to find out what goes on behind the scenes.

Lawyer Seetha Ramasamy, 40, plans to take her seven-year-old daughter and four-year-old twin boys to the carnival.

She says: "I'm always looking for things to do with my kids and it will be interesting for them to see the buses I used to ride in."

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 11, 2016, with the headline 'Taking a bus ride down memory lane'. Print Edition | Subscribe