As part of the New ISB Network, a new route, Service L, was introduced to supplement Service BTC between Oei Tiong Ham Building and Botanic Gardens MRT on weekdays during evening peak hours.

BTC Lunch Shuttle

The service’s routing actually has its beginnings in the BTC Lunch Shuttle, a one-off service that operated for one day on 30 April 2021.

On 29 April, a part-time canteen stall assistant at the Summit (the Bukit Timah Campus canteen) tested positive for COVID-19. The canteen was immediately closed for deep cleaning and disinfection, necessitating a temporary bus service to provide students at BTC with lunch options.

This temporary service took the form of a single Scania K230UB, PA9558D, looping between Oei Tiong Ham Building, Botanic Gardens MRT, College Green and back to the Oei Tiong Ham Building. The bus and driver were the same from the NUS Direct Lunch Shuttle that had concluded its operations just the previous week. As 30 April was a Friday, the service did not operate over the weekend nor after that.

I did not have time to photograph the BTC Lunch Shuttle – nor did I have the inclination to run to Bukit Timah when a COVID-19 case had been there – but the signage was left in the bus after that run.

Service L

Service L was announced on 14 June 2021, alongside the rest of the New ISB Network which was planned to begin on 19 July.

It operated on weekdays (excluding public holidays), during the evening peak hours from 5pm to 7.30pm at a frequency of 15 minutes.

The route’s path of travel was exactly the same as the BTC Lunch Shuttle. As with the main Service BTC route, passengers should note that the Botanic Gardens MRT stop refers to the taxi stand at Exit B.

A new sixth-generation route map was introduced for the service, featuring the route overlaid on a black-and-white map of the Bukit Timah Campus area. While the route was officially coloured grey on network maps, the greyscale background of the individual route map necessitated a turquoise colour for contrast.

From 19 September 2022, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter minibuses were deployed on the service instead of Volvo B9Ls. This was likely in view of the low recorded ridership.

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