Unlike service B, the main role of C (in terms of faculties connected) never really changed all that much. C was, from its inception to 2021, a link between Kent Vale, Engineering and Science at its heart.

If D is the story of a service that rose from a temporary trial supplement to two of the most heavily loaded services in the network, and B is a service which did what it always did but for different purposes, C would be the story of a service that always fulfilled the same purpose, just in many different ways… while always being called upon to support a different service.

Originally, C (with blue service boards) was the only service to travel in pretty much a straight line. It would depart Kent Vale Terminal, dip into E3A, then travel in a straight line to Science where it would turn back.

First Generation Map

The first generation route map shows the C route most clearly.

Nothing much to see here.

Second Generation Map

Due to the lack of any amendments to Service C prior to 2010, the second generation map route is identical to that in the first generation, just with a new look.

Third Generation Map

As stated in the article for route B, in early 2010 the terminal/layover point for Route C at Kent Vale was closed to make way for construction, and C layovers were shifted to Kent Ridge Bus Terminal.

Thus, the third generation map (after UTown opened) depicts the service starting from Clementi Rd. Buses would start picking up passengers at The Japanese Primary School, and then have to cross three lanes of traffic to make a right turn into NUS. The final stop on the service would now be Block EA, on the main road.

Fourth Generation Map

In 2015, there were a few changes to the service. The E3A stop, now the second and penultimate bus stop on the route, lasted until January 2015 where it was removed to allow B and C to use larger buses. Later the same year, boarding and alighting of C were allowed at Kent Ridge Bus Terminal as a mitigation measure for the removal of Temasek Hall and Eusoff Hall bus stops.

These changes were reflected in NUS’ fourth generation map for C.

New responsibilities at Kent Vale (2016)

27 June 2016, after the transition to stop listings on the OCA website, saw the problem of filtering across traffic resolved, albeit in an inelegant manner.

While B dealt with the problem by simply excising the Japanese Primary School stop and filtering to the right early on, the C route amendment went beyond that.

Initially, the C was intended to keep left after the Japanese Primary School and U-turn inside the newly built Kent Vale apartment complex as a means of overcoming the safety issue of filtering across 3 lanes from the Japanese School to turn right into NUS.

However, NUS received strong feedback from residents of Kent Vale, who felt that since the Japanese School bus stop was an interim solution to serve Kent Vale in the first place, it made more sense for the bus to stop in Kent Vale itself instead of simply using it as a U-turn.

So following this feedback, from 7.15am to 10am, C would skip the redundant Japanese Primary School stop, keep left and turn into the Kent Vale apartment complex. It would then stop, U-turn inside and then sail straight across the junction into NUS. Outside those hours, it was the same as B (just filter to the right, skip Japanese Primary School).

The route map was edited to reflect this only in 2017, following the later amendment.

On paper, it looked great. But the drivers soon learned to be careful what they wished for when they realised the left turn was very narrow and there was no way to turn without encroaching into the oncoming lane! I believe the junction was repainted a bit as a result.

Nevertheless, this amendment did serve its purpose which was to provide transport for the international faculty members living in Kent Vale to get to classes in the main campus, covering the northern half. The link between KV and the southern half was covered by Service BTC1.

Assisting A2 at Central Forum (2017)

In January 2017, the post-10am route of C was amended. Instead of travelling straight to Museum and then UHC onwards, C would head through Central Forum, stopping at Computer Centre (now renamed IT) and Opp YIH before serving Museum. The return trip was not affected; the bus would still go to Raffles Hall and EA.

Perhaps the planners were inspired by the similar move they made in planning B1, in terms of having ISBs enter NUS through Entrance B. This amendment was the result of proposals by my NUSSU pre-predecessor Hao Jing (now VP of the 40th EXCO).

In any case, the result was that C now served as an alternative to A2 from Computer Centre all the way to FoS, as the route was duplicated exactly. It ensured that students had empty buses coming to Computer Centre, equivalent to downrouting A2.

Note that this amendment (alongside the split of B) added great connectivity to Central Forum, specifically Computer Centre. Whereby CCE previously only had A2, B and D1, it lost the direct link to Raffles Hall provided by B, but gained direct links to UTown (both B1 and B2) and direct links to Science (C).

Assisting D2 at UTown (2018)

From AY18/19, the UT-FoS Direct was folded into D2. C was now called upon to take over the role of carrying passengers between UTown and FoS, by stopping at UTown on the way to and from FoS. This amendment was overseen by my NUSSU predecessor Hakeem.

The 2017 amendment where C served Computer Centre was completely undone to facilitate this. Throughout the day, C would serve Kent Vale, then UTown, before going to Science. On the way back, it would enter UTown again before heading out. The Japanese School bus stop before Kent Vale was also reinstated, since with Kent Vale as a full-day stop there is no reason to skip it.

One might actually question why the previous useful amendment where C served CCE was undone, as it represents a loss of connectivity for Central Forum. I recently had the privilege of understanding the story of the amendment which was relayed to me. Apparently, after 2017, the need for connection from EA (western Engin) to UTown arose as a concern among students. This was because B1 and B2 were not inverses of each other, so no link existed from EA to UTown. B2 connected UTown to EA.

So the office had suggested rerouting B1 to be the inverse of B2 (ie. it would go from KRBT via EA to UTown before going down via Central Forum) to serve as an EA-to-UTown link. However, according to NUSSU surveys overseen by Hakeem of the 39th EXCO, the crowding at IT and need for connection from IT to UTown was too high to justify this. The engineering students themselves, among other students, had spoken to say they travelled more from IT to UTown than from EA, although a need for a link from EA was still there.

In other words, EA-UT connectivity was deemed not worth the sacrifice of IT-UT connectivity. Thus, the recommended solution from the office was to amend C to enter UTown instead. This meant that IT would lose a direct link to Science, rather than a direct link to UTown.

Back to topic…

Anyway, now that geographical route maps have returned following my feedback, this is what the 2018 (5th-gen) route of C looks like.

The map nicely illustrates how the Kent Vale stop solves (partially) the problem of the right turn, and gives students a better idea of how C works. C was not an express between UTown and FoS, as it did stop along the way, but it offered an alternative to D2: students heading to Science could now take C, freeing up D2 for those bound for Kent Ridge MRT.

On the way back from Science, C was faster than D2 as it did not have to stop at Museum before entering UTown. One of my personal travel hacks was to wait for the bus at S17 before the loop. This ensured I got a seat and did not have to jostle with crowds at LT27!

A note on the EDS

Since the bus stopped at UTown in both directions, passengers had to take care to board the right bus by looking at the electronic destination sign (EDS). When the bus started its trip at Kent Ridge Terminal, it would leave with the sign showing “KR Terminal > UTown > FoS” like this:


After it left UTown and reached UHC onwards, the sign changed to read “FoS > UTown > KR Terminal”, as shown below.


I received feedback from students to simplify this process by numbering the bus from KR Terminal to S17 as C1, and from LT27 to KR Terminal as C2. I did raise up this feedback on behalf of NUSSU to the offices.

The consensus is that since the signage of C was recently edited, this is difficult to do immediately. There is a substantial cost involved in reprogramming the signage, for reasons that I will explain in another article.

A signage reprogram exercise was already conducted alongside the amendment of C, whereby the font size for D1 and BTC details were enlarged.

I also asked why the route details were so long. Would it be slightly better to use “KR Terminal > FoS” (only two places, like how D1 works)? The reply was that they wanted UTown inside the details so that passengers would be aware that UTown was part of the route. Okay, fair.

However, I did mention that the 2011-2013 version of Service D as well as the current operation of Service BTC show that there is a precedent to having two numerals for a single bus trip. So the office will consider this edit if there is another signage edit exercise upcoming. In the meantime, students are reminded to always look at the signage before boarding.

COVID-19 Suspension (2020)

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students had to be segregated into zones to minimise the chance of cross-infection across different faculties due to NUS’ connected nature. As such, ISB routes were revised and replaced from 20 July 2020 to facilitate zoning, and all existing services were suspended for AY20/21 Semester 1. The service names were not reused.

Reinstatement (2020)

On 6 December 2020, following the lifting of the zoning policy, the original pre-zoning routes were reinstated. OCA uploaded the route information as follows.

Withdrawal (2021)

As part of the New ISB Network, Service C was withdrawn from 19 July 2021 onwards. Its role was replaced by Service K, which inherited its blue colour.

Further Reading

All Episodes


17 thoughts on “History of Bus Routes Ep 3: C

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