As expected for something so mundane to the general student population, the revert to unzoned ISB services on 6 December was met with little fanfare.
Since the (re)debut of the unzoned routes took place on a Sunday, only the four “trunk” services were operating: A1, A2, D1 and D2, each with a 30-minute frequency (one bus at a time).
PC4071M on A1 had the honour of being the first unzoned bus to operate following the lifting of zoning, departing PGP at 9am. It is captured here turning from Opp UHC to YIH.
A1 connects Kent Ridge Campus, minus UTown, in anticlockwise order.
Shortly after, PA2A departed PGP on A2 at 9.02am. It is the first bus since July to perform this U-turn, which I helped to make one-way. This U-turn is used by A2, D1 and D2, but was unused by zoned ISBs during the entire zoning period. I’m glad to see it used again!
A2 covers all of Kent Ridge Campus, but clockwise (the reverse direction of A1).
Following soon after was PC3983M who had departed Carpark 11 as D1 at 9.13am. Unfortunately, it appears the EDS had glitched out in a manner reminiscent of the CC EDS. Nevertheless, this issue was fixed swiftly in the coming days with minimal inconvenience to students.
D1 connects UTown with the western half of campus, including Central Library, SoC and Business.
PC3880B departed Carpark 11 at 9.14am on D2, also with a slightly glitched EDS (the route details are too far right) that was fixed in the upcoming days. However, I boarded the bus and the interior next-stop announcements were working perfectly.
D2 connects UTown with the eastern half of campus, including UHC, Science, Kent Ridge MRT and PGP.
In the following days, the EDS format for most of the routes (except C and BTC1/2) were updated, taking into account the glitches faced on Day 1. Thus, instead of the original pre-zoning EDS formatting with fully Arial font (in use since 2015), a slightly different format was used. From my understanding, the D1 and D2 data was overwritten first, followed by A1, A2 and B2.
The formatting for the destination area (left half) resembled the formatting used by PC3906L when it was first reprogrammed in mid-August, with the text aligned all the way to the left edge of the EDS and using a default serif font.
As for the route numbers, the new format uses Arial but unbolded – slightly different from the zoned routes.
Interestingly, the rear EDS display did not change – so it continues to display the service number in Arial bolded.
For D1, the “BIZ>UTown>”/”UTown>BIZ” text was centred as usual but in the serif font, making it look a bit like the DD1/DD2 EDS.
B2’s data interestingly has a sans serif font for the wording. B2 connects Business to IT, UTown, EA and Kent Ridge Terminal (ie. the supper stretch). Its counterpart B1 (almost the reverse but not quite) doesn’t run during the vacations.
The EDS details for A2 still experienced some glitches, but that is to be expected since we were still in the very first week post-amendment. Kudos to the programmers for working so fast!
Besides the programmers, though, some electrical engineers seem to have work headed their way. PC3853E, whose EDS stopped working during the zoned semester, was deployed back to its former service C which connects Kent Ridge Terminal (EA), UTown and Science. However, C stops at UTown in both directions so directional signage is needed.
Unfortunately, without a working EDS, PC3853E and its drivers had to make do with a CC signage with the second C taped up, and the “UTown” above (one end of the CC route) now rather useless. Thankfully, the side EDS still works, so students were able to distinguish the direction by observing the side.
On 18 January, PC3853E and PC3925G were spotted with their front EDS repaired or replaced. Later, on 25 January, services BTC1 and BTC2 underwent their EDS reformat.
As a bonus, here’s a before-and-after comparison of PC3785T on Service A1. These two photos were taken eleven months apart in January and December 2020.