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'Ridiculous and unacceptable': 2 tourists stranded at Woodlands Checkpoint after bus leaves without them

'Ridiculous and unacceptable': 2 tourists stranded at Woodlands Checkpoint after bus leaves without them
Brenda Tee and her partner were left behind by their bus driver, despite having paid for the service to drop them off in the city.
PHOTO: TikTok/ Brenda Tee

Two tourists from Australia vacationing in Singapore were shocked and confused when the driver of their pre-booked bus left them behind at the Woodlands Checkpoint.

Brenda Tee and her partner had bought tickets for an overnight express bus to return to Singapore on Thursday after a day trip to Kuala Lumpur.

Tee detailed her experience in a TikTok video posted on Thursday (June 6): "The ride there (Kuala Lumpur) was so good with another (bus) company, [but] the ride back, never again!"

The bus, operated by Billion Stars Express, was supposed to drop them off at Lavender MRT station.

Bus was late for pickup

Tee said the bus was supposed to pick them up from Berjaya Times Square at 12.30am. When it didn't arrive at the stipulated time, she called the Billion Stars Express's customer service line at around 12.40am, but claimed that she was told "they are only 10 minutes late" and dismissed with a laugh.

The bus eventually turned up 45 minutes late, Tee said. "[I was] annoyed, but relieved they weren't a no-show."

Upon boarding, the couple noticed a family in their assigned seats and asked them to move. This led to them being told off by the driver, who said there was no fixed seating and passengers could sit anywhere they wished.

Tee also recounted that just before the bus reached the checkpoint in Johor Bahru, it  stopped at a depot and the driver shouted at the passengers to move to another bus, which brought them to the checkpoint.

After clearing customs, Tee and her partner were shocked to see the bus driver allowing other passengers, who had not been travelling on the bus prior, to board.

They were all cramped inside the vehicle, with people even standing on the aisle, wrote Tee.

When the bus arrived at the Woodlands Checkpoint, the passengers were instructed to bring all their belongings with them while going through customs.

Tee added that they took less than 15 minutes to pass immigration, but could not find their bus anywhere. They were aghast when they realised that the bus had left without them.

"I thought we were on the wrong side [of the bus bay] at first, but a worker told me it was the correct [pickup] point," wrote Tee.

When she called Billion Stars Express, Tee claimed the customer service personnel told her: "You took too long, my bus driver cannot wait." 

"We were stranded at the checkpoint, unsure how to get back to the city from here," Tee wrote.

A helpful bystander then told the couple which bus they could take. Tickets for that bus cost $4.80 each.

While waiting for the bus, Tee contacted, the platform from where she booked her express bus tickets, to inform them of the incident.

"I called the bus company and they said it was my fault I missed the bus and hung up on me," she wrote in a WhatsApp message to the platform's customer service. "You are meant to wait for your paying customers. This behaviour is ridiculous and unacceptable."

A check on Tripadvisor showed that Billion Stars Express had a one-star rating, with numerous reviews left by angry customers.

One reviewer wrote: "Worst experience ever. Book if you want to experience the lousiest customer service, delayed bus and vulgar drivers. The bus was absolutely disgusting with roaches around."

"Booked a 2pm bus and they reached at 3pm," said another upset customer.

Another reviewer wrote: "We booked the bus to Lavender MRT station, but at Woodlands Checkpoint, the driver told us to wait 1.5 hours to pick up another passenger. We were forced to take public transport back from Woodlands instead, as we had school and work the next morning."

Calls made by AsiaOne to the company's customer service line went unanswered. AsiaOne has also reached out to Brenda Tee for more information.

ALSO READ: Driver locks passengers in bus bound for Woodlands Checkpoint, refuses to drive after some fail to pay fare

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