Welcome to the second blog post where I try to introduce you to getting around campus as an NTU undergraduate student. Pulau NTU is a little frustrating to navigate around, what with the weird floors which don’t make sense. I’ll try to break it down to you. Well, try. Let’s see what Nanyang Technological University has to offer…
Hi. I guess you found yourself to the second installation of NTU life. You might be an incoming (potential) freshmen, on exchange here, a current student or just someone who is a little bit curious about NTU. I strongly believe this statement:
To know more about NTU, you gotta do what a human got to do – walk around the campus.
To be honest, I can assure you that you will get lost in NTU if not on your first visit, the second. Nobody can ever know the in-and-outs of this campus unless you get lost here. But that is called adventure.
I have worked in NTU before I even enrolled in it, so to freshmen, I seem to be like a senior/sophomore/junior. But god knows how many times I got lost especially around the Engineering buildings when I was still employed here.
Like I said in the previous post, NTU is known as Pulau NTU. What does it mean? Pulau stands for island and island it is. The ferries are metaphorically seen as buses and cars. If you’re coming on public transport, 179, 199 and the Campus Green buses are really your best friends.
179 and 199 are SBS buses, which you can board at Boon Lay Bus Interchange. To get there, take the train all the way to Boon Lay (EW27) and tap out. Find the sign that says Bus Interchange.
There are two variation of 179 buses – 179A and 179. For the 179A bus, the bus will skip all the stops between the bus interchange and the first bus stop in NTU (which is Hall 1). This is to cater solely for NTU students, and alleviate crowds on the 179 bus as well as the campus green bus. On the other hand, 179 buses will stop at every HDB bus stops so as to pick up passengers who are not coming from the MRT/bus interchange. It also stops at Pioneer (EW28) too. Here are the bus routes: 179 (click here) and 179A (click here).
There are three campus buses that you should know. Not too many, which is easy. I’ve heard that NUS has many campus buses which skip alternate bus stops. I think that’s crazy! I’m glad that it’s easy to traverse the NTU campus because unlike NUS, NTU doesn’t have an expressway (AYE) separating her.
The three campus buses are: Green, Red and Blue. Self-explanatory. But be warned, the buses don’t come in those colours, except for Green. I’ll explain more later.
Green Campus Bus aka Campus Green
This will be your best friend in getting in and out of school, just like 179 and 199. The journey starts and ends at Pioneer MRT Station. To get to the queue, orientate yourself like this from the tapping out station at the MRT: upon tapping out, turn right and take the stairs down to street level. Walk all the way straight – you will see a sign saying “NTU Bus”. Not that hard to find. Just join the queue – there’s only one queue anyway.
This bus will make a loop at Tan Chin Tuan Lecture Theatre, which is located near the Admin Building (where the NTU President works), near Nanyang Auditorium and Coffee Bean. The School of Biological Sciences will be a short walk away (and I will talk about orientating yourself in a separate post).
One tip that I can advise you is that if you’re trying to get out of school, get on the bus a few bus stops before the bus makes the loop at TCT LT if you want to get a seat. This is highly important if you’re taking the bus during rush hours…
Campus Red & Blue
I don’t usually take campus red and blue, but what I can say is that their routes go in a circle. Sometimes buses need to take rests (yes), so if you see a sign “last trip to CHC”, you may not want to get on the bus if your stop is after CHC. What’s CHC? That is… Chinese Heritage Centre. Historically, NTU was a Chinese school hence the Nanyang, and it’s a pretty building near South Spine. I go there because the toilets are usually empty, clean and the tissues are well stocked. It’s near my faculty too!… Alright, I digressed.
Red and Blue routes overlap in some areas such as Hall 4. I can’t really explain about the routes well, so I’m just going to shove this page in front of you. Weekend bus routes operate in different ways so it’d be wise to read up on the routes well beforehand.
Note: Binjai, Banyan and Tanjong halls are relatively new (around 3 months old and they started residential intake only this semester as of January 2017). So bus routes are being updated to the best that the school can. The stops are known as Hall 8 & 9 (Campus Red) and Opp. Hall 8, Nanyang Heights (Campus Blue). If you’re taking taxi into the school, advise the taxi driver to exit Pan-Island Expressway (PIE) and enter via Jalan Bahar. There’ll be a roundabout, take the 12 o’clock (second exit). The newer cluster of halls will be to your left.
Campus Yellow and Weekend Rider
To be honest, I have never taken these buses because I don’t see a need to. The areas they serve are very much different so it’ll be great to check this so you don’t get lost! These buses do not serve the community as long as Campus Green/Blue/Red, and I have my own vehicle.
Campus bus rides are free. 179 and 199 buses are not and my advise to you is get an EZ-link card. It’s like Japan’s PASMO/Icoca, South Korea’s T-money and the like. One thing to note is that there are transit discounts from bus to bus or from train to bus/bus to train. Not too sure what the calculations are, but it is by traveling distance. If you’re commuting daily to school, it will be worth it to get a NTU endorsed EZ-link cards with your name on it and purchase the monthly bus/bus+train/train pass. You can check that out here.
I believe that NTU matriculation cards issued AY16/17 onwards have an EZ-link chip embedded into it. Mine doesn’t as I was admitted in AY15/16. I find that with this function, things get a little easier and the card more useful. You can now use the card to (1) borrow books from the school library (2) enter rooms that are locked and free to use for students (3) transportation. No need to separately apply for a tertiary bus card at SBS Transitlink! (But now I don’t really take the bus so nah, I don’t need the EZ-link function on my matriculation card).
All students will be issued their own matriculation card with their matric number U**12345A, ** being the year of admission. Exchange students as well as post-graduate students will receive them too.
Here are the apps that I (used to) use:
For public buses: https://itunes.apple.com/sg/app/sg-buses-singapore-bus-guide/id384353741?mt=8
For campus buses: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ntubus.ntubus&hl=en
Apps are a little unstable at times, and you can expect the buses to come slower during rush hours. Rush hours are usually from 7AM-9.30AM and from 4.30-7PM. Death hours, I’d like to call it.
Yeap, this marks the end of the second bit on NTU life. If you’ve read till this line, thanks for reading. Any queries, do leave them in the comments section and I’ll try my best to answer them! Doesn’t have to be related to buses or transportation! 🙂