Toyota Evening Express: Joy in the evening

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How one Toyota Camry driver discovered happiness in the most unlikely place to have a plate of briyani

SINGAPORE — Reasons I love servicing my car: it feels like I’m giving my faithful Toyota Camry 2.4 a treat, and it keeps it running perfectly so it can continue to serve me well.

Reasons servicing can be a drag: you have to take time out to take it to the workshop, and find some other way to get around while it’s there. Bummer…

But I recently discovered that there’s a better way to service your car without these drawbacks. It’s called… Toyota Evening Express servicing!

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Borneo Motors says it can service a car in 45 minutes or less in the evening, and serve you a hot meal while you’re waiting so your stomach doesn’t get the better of you. I decided to give it a try because I was curious about whether they could really do it that quickly, and whether I could pamper both my car and myself at the same time.

Evening Express starts at 6pm but the final session of the day is at 7.30pm — perfect for an after-work session.

The procedure is pretty similar to regular servicing at Borneo Motors. Once you arrive you key your car’s number into the check-in machine for a queue number.

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It’s almost like checking in for a flight, only easier.

With a queue number in hand, I waited for just a few minutes in the lounge. Because Toyota Evening Express is a service that’s booked ahead of time, there aren’t too many people waiting, and by dusk most of the workshop’s daily output of serviced cars has been cleared and handed back to customers.

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Still, there are as many as 10 Service Advisors on duty, with at least three just for Evening Express, so things move pretty fast. Amazingly, these guys have been at work since 8am, so by the time I get there they’ve already been serving customers for more than 10 hours!

So it’s a bit of a surprise to find that Terence, my S.A. for the day is in a friendly mood even though it’s getting close to dinnertime when I turn up.

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When I sit down for my servicing appointment, Terence already knows that my car is in for 110,000km servicing.

That’s because I keyed in my mileage while making the booking online, but also because my car has a full service history with Borneo Motors, so its health records are in the system.

Personally, I find it refreshing to talk to someone who knows what my car needs and explains it to me, instead of having to tell a technician what work I want done. That’s what experts are for, after all.

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After a quick consultation it’s time to hand my car over to Terence so he can take it into the workshop for me. The first thing he does when we walk over is to check the car’s mileage so he can key it into the service history.

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Then he does a quick visual inspection of the car’s condition — being an excellent driver I’ve managed to keep my Camry (nearly) ding-free, so it’s good that there’s a proper check done before handover jusssst in case. If something does happen, there’ll be no endless finger-pointing, only concrete accountability.

Next, Terence lines the floor with a paper sheet and stretches a plastic cover over the seats.  

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It’s to keep the upholstery free of grease stains when technicians climb in and out of your car.

And then my car is taken to the workshop while I’m taken to the good part: dinner!

Terence walks me over to the vending machine from Chef In Box that stands in Borneo Motors’ Leng Kee building, where I make my selection of a hot meal. Let’s see… vegetarian bee hoon or chicken carbonara? Decisions, decisions…

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The meals from the machine only cost $6 but they’re included in Toyota Evening Express, which is a nice gesture even if it wouldn’t break the bank to treat myself to one. I mean, what’s behind it is hospitality. After all if someone comes to your house, you could offer him a drink or tell him to get one himself from the fridge, but the former is more sincere.

Anyway, being a true foodie I do what comes naturally after making my selection of mutton briyani rice:

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Hey, it’s not real food if it’s not on Instagram, right?

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The cup of tea in the background isn’t included in the dinner, by the way. But it’s there anyway for a much better reason: freeflow beverages in the lounge!

After wolfing down my meal (the smell of it being warmed up in the vending machine had been driving me crazy) I caught sight of my car in the workshop, being serviced.

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There are more than 30 service and repair bays in Borneo’s Leng Kee building, but two are designated for Evening Express so you can literally watch as technicians do their thing.

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The guys spring into action right away, changing fluids, checking parts, topping up the air in the tyres, that sort of thing.

And even though they work with speed and obvious precision, it doesn’t mean they don’t have time for a friendly thumbs-up to indulge a pesky wefie hunter…

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Watching experts do their thing is sometimes enchanting, but I realise that by the time I’ve inhaled my food they’re nearly done, which leaves me precious little time of my own to enjoy another perk of Toyota Evening Express: the massage chair!

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This might just be the only time anyone would ever wish for their car’s servicing to take longer…

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Sadly, my car is ready before I have time to get properly settled in. Next time I’ll have to eat faster and waste less time taking selfies; Toyota Evening Express is supposed to take no more than 45 minutes but apparently it’s often completed in less time.

I guess that’s one example of how someone can go beyond expectations, though I shouldn’t really be surprised since it’s part of the Drive Happy experience that I’ve come to appreciate from Borneo Motors — everything from buying my car to taking care of it has been a breeze, and that leaves me to just enjoy driving it and make the most of our journey together.

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As usual after servicing, my friendly Service Advisor presents me with a clear, itemised bill and runs through what was done. Thankfully the technicians didn’t spot any repairs needed or potential problem areas, so the trusty ol’ Camry is good to go for another six months (or 10,000km, of course).

It’s nice to be handed back the keys to a car that’s been washed and vacuumed inside, too.

And having tried Evening Express for the first time, I think I might become a regular. It takes away the inconvenience of servicing my car, and there’s something vaguely decadent about having a hot meal and a massage at the end of a workday. Servicing is supposed to be about pampering your car, but it’s nice to pamper yourself a little too.

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Toyota Evening Express isn’t free, though, It costs $20 on top of the regular servicing costs, but think about it for a moment: if you take your car into a workshop in the morning and take a cab to work, and then take a cab back to collect it, the chances are high that you’ll be out of pocket. And that’s not counting the cost of dinner!

But the service is redeemable with 1,000 Toyota ME points, so as a regular Borneo Motors customer I didn’t even have to pay the extra $20.

That makes Toyota Evening Express pretty much the perfect way for me to service my car. Besides, it takes a large, well set-up business to offer such a service, so why not take advantage of it?

But there’s one thing I think I’ll do differently next time. I’m going to try the pasta.



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