Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Tokio Marine 65th Anniversary free rides on 16 & 17th March 2013 on service 65.

It's not everyday that one will get to have free rides that is not due to an MRT breakdown (free shuttle) or free shuttle services like the IKEA shuttle.

During the December 2011 MRT disruptions, free shuttle buses were deployed by both SBS Transit and SMRT Buses to do free shuttle duties to temporarily replace train services so that SMRT could check the island wide tracks/third rail.

Free IKEA - Tampines Retail Park Shuttle service (note the free ride quotes on the top of the livery), though this vehicle was working on the Boon Lay - Alexandra IKEA shuttle.
But there was a free ride on a public bus service on 16th and 17th March 2013 - Tokio Marine had their celebrations for the 65th anniversary and here's the extract from their website and a press release -

"We would not have come this far if not for the dedication of our past and present staff, the support of our agency consultants and business partners and the trust that our valued clients have placed in us.
This celebration would not have been possible without you!

To kick start this celebration, we invite all to hop on to our very own Tokio Marine Life Insurance Bus 65 for free rides all day this Saturday and Sunday (16 & 17 March)!"

On their website, they feature a ComfortDelgro bodied Volvo B9TL but for service 65, there are no ComfortDelgro bodied B9TLs permanently deployed on the service (as of the writing this post). So SBS9531B - Volvo Olympian 3 axles batch 2 (deployed from Ayer Rajah Bus Park controlled 65 was pasted with the advertisement) did the free rides stint for the whole day.

Credits : Photo by Tokio Marine website.
The banners at Harbour Front Interchange's queuing berth for service 65.

SBS9531B not in sight >.<
And the banners at Tampines Interchange's queuing berth.

SBS9531B at Tampines Bus Interchange waiting for the front bus on 22 occupying the boarding berth to depart. It does look like any other normal buses from far, with no indications it was giving a free ride.

Boarding time!
Took  a free journey from Tampines Interchange to Jalan Kolam Ayer. On board, there's 5 pieces of cardboard stuffs covering up the Ezlink readers and coinbox.

As there's no "free rides on 16th & 17th March" promotional signage on the windscreen, many passengers along the journey on boarded presumed it was a normal revenue service bus proceeded to habitually tap the ezlink card after boarding, only to be told by the driver that it's free and resulting in many having a surprised reaction that it's a free ride~
The most prominent cardboard signs when one boards the bus. And a box covering the coin box.
Have to salute the Bus Captains for both day, having to tell/explain to the passengers that it's free at probably every stop with boarding passengers for SBS9531B and seeing the surprised & happy looks on the commuters the entire day.

The revenue equipment systems were probably disabled for the day or the signs pasted on the EZlink reader are thick enough to stop any wireless contact with the EZlink card, but the former is more likely to prevent any accidental deduction of fares.

On its way to Harbour Front on the last few evening trips of the day.....
The exit readers are covered up too ~
Goodbye free rides for the last day (17th March 2013).
SBS9531B has since resumed its revenue collecting service from 18th March 2013 with this new advertisement by Tokio Marine.

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