There has been much hype about NUSmart Shuttle, our self-driving electric bus that will ply a 1.6km route between Innovation 4.0 and the Energy Studies Institute.
But did you know that NUSmart Shuttle is not the first NUS bus to ply along Heng Mui Keng Terrace?
In fact, from 2005 to 2006, we had a short-lived ISB service called HMK1, which was coded as pink on route boards. It connected the various buildings along Heng Mui Keng Terrace with the LT13 and CLB area.
Very little is known about this service today, as it only operated for about two years and was thereafter expunged from the internet. Only the operating details from OED’s website, the route map and the schedules remain. I’ve never seen a single photograph of a HMK1 bus in service, so I can only make guesses about the operations.
In early 2005 (no later than March), HMK1 was introduced as a loop service from Heng Mui Keng Complex and looping at the YIH roundabout. The first stop coming out of Heng Mui Keng, Opp LT13, was designated as an alighting-only stop, revealing its nature as merely a connecting service.
The bus would then stop at Computer Centre (for connection to 95 and 96), then loop back around. It would stop at CLB (probably to pick up passengers alighting from 95 or other ISBs) and LT13, then head to Heng Mui Keng Complex and layover.
An update to the website in September 2005 added Yusof Ishak House as a stop, and also revealed that the buses actually originated from Kent Vale Terminal. The first trip of the day would bring passengers from Kent Vale over into the route.
This routing lasted until December 2006, after which the route was unceremoniously culled from existence, presumably due to low demand from the Heng Mui Keng buildings.
As for the question of exactly who was Heng Mui Keng, according to this NUS webpage, “Heng Mui Keng Terrace was named after a Teochew businessman, Heng Mui Keng, who owned property in the area”. In Chinese, his name is written as 王美敬.
- History of Bus Routes Ep 1: D1/D2
- History of Bus Routes Ep 2: B1/B2
- History of Bus Routes Ep 3: C
- History of Bus Routes Ep 4: A1/A2
- History of Bus Routes Ep 5: BTC1/BTC2
- History of Bus Routes Ep 6: A1E/A2E
- History of Bus Routes Ep 7: HMK1
- History of Bus Routes Ep 8: AV1
- History of Bus Routes Ep 9: AA1/AA2
- History of Bus Routes Ep 10: BB
- History of Bus Routes Ep 11: CC/CCX
- History of Bus Routes Ep 12: DD1/DD2
- History of Bus Routes Ep 13: NUS Direct Lunch Shuttle
- History of Bus Routes Ep 14: E
- History of Bus Routes Ep 15: K
- History of Bus Routes Ep 16: L