No. 97: A new fragrance on wheels

Terry Jacobson, founder and CEO of AllSense, demonstrates how he mixes fragrance nodes to create the Tower Transit Singapore signature scent during a media workshop on Feb 28, 2017.
Terry Jacobson, founder and CEO of AllSense, demonstrates how he mixes fragrance nodes to create the Tower Transit Singapore signature scent during a media workshop on Feb 28, 2017. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Various elements of fragrance nodes used to create the Tower Transit Singapore signature scent pictured during a workshop on Feb 28, 2017.
Various elements of fragrance nodes used to create the Tower Transit Singapore signature scent pictured during a workshop on Feb 28, 2017. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Straits Times reporter Raynold Toh tries his hand at mixing fragrance nodes to create different scents during a workshop on Feb 28, 2017.
Straits Times reporter Raynold Toh tries his hand at mixing fragrance nodes to create different scents during a workshop on Feb 28, 2017.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
ST VIDEO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - A waft of floral and peppermint scent greets commuters as they board Tower Transit bus service 97 near the Suntec Convention Centre on Tuesday morning (Feb 28).

However, the bus is not passing through the Gardens by the Bay.

The subtle fragrance is Tower Transit's new signature scent, inspired by gardens and greenery.

This novel initiative to improve commuters' experience on their buses has been welcomed by most passengers The Straits Times spoke to.

"They have done a very good job. The bus smells much fresher," said Mr Mohd Ali, 48, an admin driver who takes the bus everyday.

A 34-year-old software professional, who gave his name as Mr Kanakaraju, agreed: "It certainly improves a commuter's experience."

Following the lead of malls like ION Orchard - which has utilised scents in its retail space - Tower Transit's new fragrance will be introduced in 100 buses on the 66, 97, and 106 trunk services progressively over March.

Before rolling out this initiative - the first of its kind among bus companies in Singapore - the firm spent six months working with scent marketing company AllSense, and held a three-month public trial on 18 buses from last July.

"The feedback was mostly positive, but we made some tweaks to add new sensations using odours like peppermint," AllSense founder Terry Jacobson told the media at a launch of the initiative.

When asked if passengers allergic to perfumes might feel uncomfortable on these buses, he said the scent would not be strong but be more like a background sensation.

Though there are no plans to develop more fragrances, Tower Transit -which became the third public bus operator here when it clinched the Bulim bus package with a bid of $556 million for five years in 2015 - has not ruled out the possibility of doing so for festive periods like Christmas.

Tower Transit, which began running 26 bus services in western Singapore in the middle of last year, declined to reveal the costs of the initiative.

Its group communications director Glenn Lim also cited other measures to improve riders' experience, including providing bus captains with customer service training.

"We are designing our service around the commuter, so this will help make the bus ride more pleasant," he added.