Starmart Express runs frequently from Melaka Sentral to Golden Mile Tower in Singapore with 11 departures a day. It is also the only frequent bus company which does it with 2+1 27-seater buses, with the other main contender, Delima, doing the similar route but with 2+2 40-seater buses. I opted for the 8.15pm bus which gives me enough time to spend in Melaka as well as an assured journey back to Singapore (ie. not getting stranded at Larkin Sentral in case the last CWL or 170 has departed if I were to opt for other bus companies to Larkin Sentral only with a similar departure timing).
The Starmart Express bus will also drop passengers off at Yong Peng, Ayer Hitam, Skudai, Tampoi, Tun Aminah and Larkin Sentral if needed.
However, as the Starmart Express counter was unmanned and I’ve already waited for 10 minutes, I walked around the row of counters to see if there were alternative buses. An awkward counter, CatchThatBus, was around the corner (they are an online agent, not a bus company), and are offering buses to Singapore with the exact same timings as Starmart Express.
I got my Starmart Express ticket from the CatchThatBus counter instead, with a wait time of less than 2 minutes. It seems to be an online booking through their website, but payment was done in cash. They even scribbled lines and circles on the A4 paper and stamped it with the platform number, as if it were an actual bus ticket printed at the counter.
Back at Melaka Sentral just before departure, and the Starmart Express counter is still unmanned. Hmm.
Heading on to Platform 18 for my bus back to Singapore.
Hmm, I guess this is the part where it’s said that Melaka Sentral was built based on the design of Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). There’s a forest/garden in the middle of the departure hall, but that’s about it. Some seats are available behind the ticket counters and massage chairs.
At about 8pm, my empty Starmart Express bus was already waiting at the platform.
Strange, since the Singapore service is supposed to originate from klia2 and not Melaka Sentral.
The boarding platform at Melaka Sentral.
The interior of my 27-seater Starmart bus.
The spacious legroom on board.
About 20 minutes after the scheduled departure time of 8.15pm, the 5.45pm bus from klia2 / 6.00pm bus from KLIA pulled in and all the passengers in it transferred on to my bus.
The rather full ride back to Singapore.
My bus finally departed at 8.45pm – 30 minutes delayed from schedule.
The bus made a stop at Larkin Sentral at 11.45pm before heading to Singapore. The ride from Melaka Sentral to Larkin Sentral took 3 hours with one petrol/restroom stop along the highway.
Most of the passengers from klia2, KLIA and Melaka Sentral alighted here.
Despite it having going to Larkin Sentral before, the bus still proceeded to use the Second Link as advertised. It was quite a far detour, but it might have evened out with crossing via Woodlands since there was a jam on the Causeway and pretty clear on the Second Link.
The bus arrived at Tanjung Kupang CIQ at 12.30am.
No bus changes here, it’s straight on to Tuas and Golden Mile Tower.
The bus arrived at Golden Mile Tower at 1.30am, making the journey from Melaka Sentral to Golden Mile Tower with a total travelling time of 4 hours and 45 minutes.
Overall, it was a pleasant ride, since it could have been much worse if there were passengers getting off at Yong Peng or, Ayer Hitam, with the bus detouring out of the highway to drop off the passengers.
I wouldn’t take it the full route all the way from klia2 and KLIA to Golden Mile Tower though, especially with the detour to Melaka Sentral to pick passengers like me up, unless perhaps it was an overnight journey where I’d be sleeping.