New Singapore bus tour puts spotlight on local fare

makan_bus_at_orchardgatewayThe Makan Bus will have 10 stops starting from Orchard Gateway

A NEW gastronomic tour, Makan Bus, created by operator MeGuideU, was launched last week in Singapore.

It is a hop-on hop-off concept where passengers get into 13-seater vans and are brought to 10 neighbourhoods known for their popular hawkers and signature local dishes. Buses run daily from 11.00 at 20-minute frequencies. Onboard, there are customised maps and tour guides to answer queries.

When asked what was his inspiration behind this product, John Ng Pangilinan, CEO, Ovenbaked Ideas (parent company of MeGuideU), said: “We conceived this idea for the SEA Games last year with Far East Hospitality. It was initially a supper tour which brought athletes, their families and friends to Geylang and Tampines for local hawker food.

“It was initially a three-month campaign, but with all the positive reviews that we received, we decided to make it bigger.

“We’ve received an overwhelming response not just from tourists and locals, but from corporates and industry players as well. A corporation just purchased in bulk from us for their clients when they head to Singapore.”

Initially, Ng said that he expected “locals to be a minority, and tourists the majority”. However, he shared that it’s now a 60-40 percentage split.

Currently, Makan Bus operates in the north-central part of Singapore but there are plans to expand to the east in the next six months. The company is also creating a Makan Bus app.

The company also has regional expansion plans. Said Ng: “Travel agents from overseas have started calling us, a few of which have packaged our tickets along with the upcoming F1.”

Ng further indicated that he would like to join a tradeshow, for example, at the upcoming ITB Asia, as he feels that these tradeshows were the “best outlet to showcase Makan Bus to travel agents”.

For agents, the preferred rates and commissions are currently about “12 to 20 per cent, depending on the size of the organisation”.

Ng concluded: “We want Makan Bus to be synonymous with food, so that when foreigners visit Singapore, locals can suggest Makan Bus (to them as an attraction).”

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