Eltabina Express apparently plies the route from Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS) in Kuala Lumpur to Larkin Sentral in Johor Bahru and Textile Centre in Singapore via Woodlands Checkpoint. The only difference about the route on my day of departure was that I got nowhere from TBS.
After getting my boarding pass, I made my way to the gate as usual, and the gate opened for me as usual with nothing amiss.
Only till I got to the waiting lounge where I realised that there wasn’t any Eltabina information on any screen, even at the gate itself. Nothing happened at 11.30pm – the departure time.
When this Super Coach to Larkin showed up at 11.35pm, I half expected it to be a combined bus by Eltabina and I’ll get a 170 ticket at Larkin for the onward journey to Singapore. I asked the staff manning the gate – and was told “not yet”.
Another TBS staff showed up at about 11.50pm, calling out the 4 passengers’ names on the Eltabina bus (and this is why you should fill up your personal details accurately). We were told that our bus is cancelled and we should head upstairs for a refund and to be re-booked on another bus. That’s probably why they cancelled the bus – 1 passenger was heading to Larkin, 2 to Woodlands and 1 RailTravel Station to Beach Road.
Even though Eltabina couldn’t break even with just 4 passengers, it’s still extremely unprofessional to cancel the bus and give notice only after the planned departure time. What if there weren’t any more buses south that night as they were booked early already? Also, why didn’t the auto gates at the entrance of the departure lobby programmed to reject our tickets, giving us more time to re-book on another bus?
Surprisingly, I wasn’t angry at the TBS staff, but that’s probably because I knew that there weren’t any bus company’s staff handling departures at TBS and he wouldn’t have any control over Eltabina as well.
I went upstairs with the same guy now behind the counter, handling the re-bookings. After making my selection of less crowded buses, I settled for Billion Stars and got a RM1.50 refund for the fare difference, thinking that how bad could it further get as long as I get moving at midnight.