Battlestar Galactica set to soar again

After being out of action for almost two years, Universal Studios Singapore's main attraction, the Battlestar Galactica, will welcome passengers on board once more from tomorrow.

Since the theme park in Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) opened in 2010, the roller-coaster ride has gone through ups and downs. It opened to much fanfare, but was closed a few times as a result of safety issues and technical faults.

The ride, which is made up of two roller coasters, was last closed in July 2013.

In a media release, RWS said it has since conducted an extensive review of the Battlestar Galactica, and all its components and systems. Its previous four-seater vehicles have also been replaced with two-seater ones.

Said John Hallenbeck, senior vice-president of attractions at RWS: "The new vehicles will allow riders to feel closer to the experience. It will be as if every rider has his own window seat."

RWS will give more details on the revamp tomorrow.

Creating a ride in a theme park typically costs at least US$30 million (S$40 million), said Kevin Cheong, chairman of the Association of Singapore Attractions. However, for repairs of mechanical faults, the manufacturer is likely to have borne part of the cost.

Tourism industry experts say the long closure of the ride might have cost the theme park roughly 3 per cent to 5 per cent of its overall visitorship, a figure considered negligible.

In countries like the United States, such a closure might cost a theme park roughly 15 per cent to 20 per cent of its visitorship.

"There are not as many adrenalin junkies in this part of the world compared to the United States. Its closure might have discouraged some adrenalin junkies from going to the theme park, but I do not think it had a big impact," said Mr Cheong.

The Battlestar Galactica's past problems are unlikely to make people think twice about riding it, said Benjamin Cassim, senior lecturer of Temasek Polytechnic's diploma in leisure and resort management course.

He added: "If anything, there would be a greater sense of safety with the reopened ride, as it has meant that the park owners have taken the effort and time to ensure optimum safety of the ride."

Student Koh Xin Rui, 26, is excited about going on the Battlestar Galactica again.

She said: "For them to close it for so long, I am sure they have done what they can to make sure safety is not compromised."

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