Ticket to the Past (Part 2)

Continued from Part 1…

Though what happened before SBS or STC were not part of my life, but it’s interesting to know more about it. Now let’s take a look at the Public Transport history before SBS was formed;

1882 to 1894 – Steam Tramway (The Singapore Tramways Company Limited)

1891 – Electric Tramway

1902 – Singapore Electric Tramsway Limited

1925 – Shanghai Electric Construction Company Limited established the Singapore Traction Company (STC) : Trolley Buses

1927 – All Trams were replaced by Trolley Buses

1955 – Hock Lee Bus Riot

1956 – Great STC Strike

1962 – Trolley Buses replaced by Motor Buses

1971 – 10 Chinese bus companies were re-organised into 3 main companies;

Amalgamated Bus Company (West Route) Formed by Hock Lee Amalgamated Bus Company, Keppel Bus Company, Kg Bahru Bus Service.

Associated Bus Services (East Route) Formed by Paya Lebar Bus Service, Changi Bus Company, Katong-Bedok Bus Service, Ponggol Bus Service.

United Bus Company (North) Formed by Tay Koh Yat Bus Company, Green Bus Company, Easy Bus Company.

Singapore Traction Company (STC) was to maintain its operation in the Town Area.

1973 : STC went burst. Government step in to bring the 3 bus companies together; Singapore Bus Service (SBS) formed.

Singapore Steam Tram around 1880s;

Here is the Steam Tramway Map in Singapore;

Credit : Above 2 from Malcolm of RailSing site

Here is a very good site about Steam and Electric Tramway in Singapore from Malcom.

Electric Tramway in Singapore;

Let’s see some Trolley Buses in the olden times Singapore. See if you can tell the differences between Electric Tram and Trolley Bus?

Trolley Bus along High Street in 1930s;

Trolley Bus Service No.3 plying Outram to Geylang in 1950s (you can see our police in shorts too);

Credit : nk4631

Postcard showing Trolley Bus along Anson Rd at the old Boustead Building (now Fuji Xerox) in the 60s;

So how to tell the Trolley Bus apart from Electric Tram? The differences are;

– Trams have flanged wheels and run on rails or grooved tracks. Trams take electric power from a single overhead wire and the return is from the track.

– Trolley buses have rubber tyres and don’t run on track or rail. They take power from a pair (2) of overhead parallel wire.

This is an interesting old photo – not only showing the 2 types but also take note of the front of the STC bus (there was a turning knob);

Credit : nk4631

Below shows an old STC Bus No. 4 plying Paya Lebar and Finlayson Green probably in the 60s;

Maybe they may be fun and interesting to look at now, but I for sure don’t think I will enjoy the ride at all.

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13 Responses to “Ticket to the Past (Part 2)”


  1. 1 HamBearGer Friday, April 13, 2007 at 7:50 am

    The turning knob is the crank handle. Vehicles in those days don’t start by turning the ignition key. There was no ignition key. To start the engine, one has to crank it. If you have seen Charlie Chaplins shows you will know what I meant. Also notice that there were no right/left turn signal lights. The driver and bus conductor must work as a tag team, to turn right, the driver stick out his hand, to turn left, is the bus conductor’s turn to stick out his hand. The windows of these buses are made of metal panels with ventrilation slots as shown on the third window from the front. When it rains, all the windows will be closed and the interior of the bus will be very dark. The driver will have to turn on the lights, which is a few miserable dim light bulbs. The passengers will have to peek through the small glass piece at the top of each window to see whether they have arrived at their destination.

  2. 2 laokokok Monday, April 16, 2007 at 7:29 am

    Thanks for the answer HamBearGer!

  3. 3 laokokok Wednesday, May 2, 2007 at 9:40 am

    Here is something from Peter Chan;

    “I remember there was a NTUC Comfort bus company (painted dark blue & light blue) which was offered in 1970s during the Park & Ride Scheme. I got their tickets n not sure whether you will be interested. Their competitor was the beige & brown SBSTransit. I collect bus tickets – in fact anything on the road except saliva.”

    Here are the Bus Tickets;
    http://sg.f622.mail.yahoo.com/ya/download?fid=Inbox&mid=1_23509_AAlLk0UAAGoBRjHzpAa5eV%2BMWik&pid=2&tnef=&YY=1178069941328&newid=1&clean=0&inline=1

  4. 4 Yusry Friday, September 14, 2007 at 8:51 pm

    Hi there,

    The NTUC Comfort bus company ran the City Shuttle Services with Singapore Shuttle Bus (SSB). They are not in competition with each other as they ran different routes – numbered 1 to 9.

  5. 5 Timothy Monday, August 4, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    I think there is only one bus company remainnig in Singapore. Even the Singapore Shuttle Bus that still use to run till recently like bus 5, 8 etc . Unfortunately, their services start to reduced until gone. Such is competition .

  6. 6 laokokok Tuesday, August 5, 2008 at 7:20 am

    Sitting in those old buses really made me feel giddddddddyyyyyy…..

  7. 7 Miss L Tuesday, February 16, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    thanks a lot for these 2 posts on old transport in sg! i’m teaching p6 social studies and there’s a chapter on development of transport in sg and these are definitely handy!

  8. 8 laokokok Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 10:30 am

    You are most welcome Miss L.

  9. 9 ken Thursday, December 16, 2010 at 11:08 am

    Hi there, thanks for these posts, young teens like myself should learn to start appreciating and not taking for granted Singapore’s public transport. These pictures gave me an eye-opener.

    In any case, do you happen to know where I can find :

    “This is an interesting old photo – not only showing the 2 types but also take note of the front of the STC bus (there was a turning knob);”

    Tried finding in a2o.com.sg but to no avail. Any help would be appreciated!

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  1. 1 Teaching reading: Whole Language and Phonics Trackback on Sunday, June 17, 2007 at 9:22 am

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