Last December, the news broke that a new bus service was to be launched in Marine Parade. As a matter of fact, I was overseas when the news was launched. I love buses and had been keeping tabs on new bus launches, and needless to say, I was thrilled to find out that the new bus — given the number of 47 — was going to pass by Victoria School.

Then I remembered that I had already graduated.

The good news was that bus 47 passed both VS and VJC, and as fate would have it, I got into VJC, and was allocated to class S47.

But I digress.

Being a bus enthusiast, I don’t want to bore you with the technical details, but here are some things which you may find useful.

Route 47 diagram updated

The route of bus 47 — it’s a loop service with only one bus interchange. It’s quite a short service, possibly even the shortest bus route to be serving VJC. But it does bring you to quite a lot of useful places.

If you take the 47 from the bus stop near VJC (without crossing the overhead bridge), the westbound bus will make a loop before it turns back, as there’s no bus interchange. Instead, at the loop, you’ll find many shopping malls where you can eat, shop, hang out and of course, mug. The bus will pass our VJC-favourite haunt of Parkway, but if you find Parkway is getting too cliche or just feel like breaking out of our stereotype as “Parkway kids”, you’ll find more malls just around the corner. Check out Roxy Square or Katong Shopping Centre for an air of nostalgia. Or I12 Katong for a refreshing new choice. Even if you don’t care for shopping malls, along the route of the 47 you’ll find many old-school delicacies to try nestled in the ancient shophouses — think Ampang Yong Tau Foo, Kim Choo Kueh Chang or even Chin Mee Chin Confectionery. (Shoppers take note: due to the bus making a loop around the area, it won’t stop at Parkway on its way back.)

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If you cross the overhead bridge to take the 47 eastwards, East-siders will be greeted with myriad different ways home. At various points, you’ll be able to transfer to many other bus services, including 12 and 229 (connection to Chai Chee achieved!)

Most importantly, the bus stops at Tanah Merah MRT station — connections galore. (Insider tip: taking the 47 to Tanah Merah and then a direct train to Changi Airport is usually faster if not less crowded than 36.) Even if you don’t take the MRT, the bus stop at Tanah Merah also offers a whole host of buses to transfer to.

Bus Stop Number Buses to transfer to*
Lions Home for the Elders 84149 12, 38, 229
Blk 50 (near Siglap CC) 84109 12, 38, 46, Express 506
Tanah Merah MRT 85091 2, 9, 12, 14, 24, 35, 35M, 38, 45
Changi City Point 96381 20, 118

*List excludes buses that you can board at VJC

While the 31 and the 48 also provide connection between VJC and Tanah Merah, 47 is clearly faster. It bypasses Bedok and heads straight to Tanah Merah, so it’s a good way to get to the MRT and beat the Bedok crowd on 31.

In the morning, students coming to school from the East will find their travel much more convenient with 47. In fact, it’s better to get off the train at Tanah Merah since you have 3 choices of buses to get to the College (31, 47 and 48). If you get off at Bedok, 1 station later, you only have 31 to choose from.

Also, the experience riding the 47 is quite interesting, and best summed up in one sentence — “enjoy it while it lasts”. Most passengers still don’t know where 47 goes (something this writer hopes to change with the release of this article), so the 47 during off-peak hours is still blissfully empty.

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Nobody on the bus means nobody to press the stop button — which means a faster ride (in the afternoons, it takes just 15 minutes to get to Tanah Merah from school). That’s the other reason why, regardless of route, 47 beats 31 and 48 hands down in terms of speed.

Most of the buses on 47 are Mercedes — the perfect set-up for the “I ride Mercedes to school” joke. (Edit: as of May 2016, not anymore, but that’s another story)

Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you’ll even encounter the peak-hour upsize.

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So at the end of the day, what do I think of bus 47?

It’s good. Because it’s 47. Made in Heaven.

Ryan Ch’ng, 16S47

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