Starmart Express offered frequent departures to Singapore and departs from Berjaya Times Square in Kuala Lumpur. It does not stop at Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS) like most buses do, so at midnight, this would be more convenient for me.
The Starmart Express counter is located below the escalator up to Imbi Monorail Station.
As I presented my phone instead of a hardcopy printout of the , I got an actual ticket printout from the counter instead with my bus details. However, my bus timing was changed to 11.45pm from the original 11.30pm (aka combined bus), my seat was changed to #24 from the original #16 I chose (probably due to the change from a single deck bus to a double deck) and my bus number was not confirmed yet.
I was told to come back to the counter again at 11.30pm.
Fast forward to 11.30pm…
My seat was now changed to #B1 from the previous #24 I chose and I’m finally given my bus number of AKX 6, which would turn out to be the most unpleasant ride I’ve had so far on Starmart.
Here comes AKX 6.
The upper deck of the double deck bus. My seat, B1, was right at the stairs.
The wider legroom as compared to the single seats row.
After counting the number of available seats, the bus dispatcher (?), based at the counter, told me to move to Seat #5 to make way for a group coming on board.
Total number of seat changes: 3
The bus finally departed at 12.10am – 40 minutes delayed from my scheduled bus of 11.30pm.
Just as I thought the ride couldn’t get worse, the driver switched on a video to entertain all of us unworthy passengers for the journey. The video was probably played at a normal volume, but at 12.15am, it sounded like thunder.
A passenger requested for a restroom break just as the bus entered the PLUS Highway, which the was pretty pissed about (no pun intended). As the passenger alighted, more started to get down without the driver’s permission, which he got even more pissed about till he made an announcement in the microphone, “OKAY, WHO WANT TO GO TOILET GO NOW. KENAPA BAS BELUM START YOU ALL TAK PERGI?!”, and started lecturing the rest of the passengers who remained on board about why you should go to the toilet before the bus departure. At least during the break/lecture, he paused the video.
After departure, the video started again, but he stopped the bus on the shoulder abruptly to come up to the upper deck to teach someone at the back how to switch on the massage function. As he was going down, I asked him, “Bang, boleh tutup video tak?”, to which he replied, “You seorang nak tutup video sahaja, orang lain tak peduli ke? Kalau semua orang cakap tutup I baru tutup ok?”.
There was silence from everyone on the bus. Either no one understood BM (most were Singaporeans or Indian nationals I guess) or everyone was really wanting to catch a midnight movie.
So I plugged in my earpiece (which had nothing switched on) and just looked away from him, and he stormed back to his driving console.
Here’s the awesome midnight movie played with surround sound on the greatest cinema on the roads, AKX 6.
I turned on some white noise on the radio and my tiredness from the full day in KL probably helped me to fall asleep relatively quickly.
I was awoken just before Tanjung Kupang CIQ with the driver’s surprisingly pleasant announcement.
“Good Morning, we are now reaching Malaysia Custom. Chop passport. Sorry, change bus. Please take all bag.”
The waiting 44-seater bus after Malaysian Immigration.
The view from my new seat on the 2+2 seater bus. I didn’t travel with big bags, only a relatively bigger carry-on, so it wasn’t comfortable having that on my lap from here till Golden Mile Tower.
The interior of the 2+2 seater bus. This bus was a former Super VIP 2+1 seater bus as evident by the awkward aircon vent positioning and the seat number plate for a 2+1 arrangement still attached.
The bus arrived at Golden Mile Tower at 6.45am, making this a 6 hour 35 minute journey from Berjaya Times Square to Golden Mile Tower, or 7 hour 15 minute journey if you count my original departure time.
Overall, it was my first unpleasant encounter with Starmart Express (but not the ultimate worst bus ride yet, that award still goes to Qistna), which got me pretty annoyed since it’s one of the more reliable and affordable companies in Malaysia to me and I’ve almost always treated it as my first choice for my trips as evident from my multiple Starmart posts on BusTravel Station. But with this incident, considering that this trip is a combined bus, and you won’t know that you need to change buses at the checkpoint till you actually get there, I may reconsider getting the overnight Starmart Express bus from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore again since I don’t enjoy midnight movies and getting some sleep together at the same time.