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SBS Transit buys Wrightbus Volvo B9TL double decks! August 22, 2009

Posted by hafizbam in Bus, Fleet News, Random Shots, SBS Transit, Something New.
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This was expected: SBS Transit announced the purchase of 150 units of Volvo B9TL double deckers.

This wasn’t: The buses will be bodied by Wrightbus, a first for Singapore buses! (like finally)

After the great disappointment with the Scania K230UBs, the company has finally seemed to redeem itself not just by opting to replace its older Leyland Olympians with more B9TLs (instead of the anticipated Scania K310UD). Chances are they will be fitted with WrigthBus’ Eclipse Gemini II bodywork whch is essentially the refined version of the Eclipse Gemini already a common sight in London and Hong Kong.

A glimpse of SBS Transit's future Volvo B9TL double decks in Wrightbus bodywork, similar to this first version worn by a First London bus on route 23 in Central London.

A glimpse of SBS Transit's future Volvo B9TL double decks in Wrightbus bodywork, similar to this first version worn by a First London bus on route 23 in Central London.

Amidst the cheer, the dampener came swiftly with the simultaneous announcement that the company will purchase an additional 200 Scania K230UBs. Hopefully they wouldn’t come in the same old dull Gemilang bodywork. The current 900 units zipping across town is already one too many.

Click on the following to view the official press releases by the companies involved:

SBS Transit – SBS Transit Invests $ 159 million In New Buses; Half of its Bus Fleet Will Be New By 2010
…The new buses, which are expected to roll out in 2010, are from two Swedish bus manufacturers – Scania and Volvo. The Scania order involving 200 single–deck Euro V buses is worth an estimated $ 72 million while the Volvo order of 150 double–deck Euro V buses is worth about $ 87 million…

Volvo – Singapore orders 150 Volvo double-deckers
…The order is for 150 double-deckers built on the Volvo B9TL chassis. The chassis will be produced in Borås, Sweden, while the bodywork that is to be made by Wrightbus will be mounted in Singapore. Deliveries will occur in 2010…

Scania – Intensive period for Scania’s city bus sales
…The single largest order is from Singapore, where operator SBS transit has ordered 200 more buses for delivery between November 2009 and May 2010. Since 2007, SBS Transit has ordered a total of 1,100 city buses from Scania, making the company one of Scania’s biggest bus customers in the world today…

Fight against dengue goes purple July 6, 2009

Posted by hafizbam in Random Shots.
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Volvo B10M SBS2749L on the 335 leaving Jurong East Interchange. It is one of those whose black dengue advertisements got replaced with this current purple/blue version.

Volvo B10M SBS2749L on the 335 leaving Jurong East Interchange. It is one of those whose black dengue advertisements got replaced with this current purple/blue version.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) has decided to continue its series of anti-dengue advertisements on buses. The latest version of the advertisement is exactly the same as the previous black one, but it’s in purple/blue now. It looks okay on normal single decks and bendy buses, but rather ugly on SMRT’s OC500LEs. Haven’t seen a purpled double deck yet though.

Bedok revisited: a decade of bus-related changes June 24, 2009

Posted by hafizbam in Deployment Updates, Miscellaneous, Random Shots, SBS Transit, SMRT.
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About a decade ago when I was still calling Bedok home, its feeder buses were operated with the non-airconditioned Alexander-bodied Scania N113CRBs well-known for their quiet engines. Green and white plated service 221 had Leyland Atlanteans. Services 7 and 14 which can get me to the Orchard Road shopping belt had just received their double-decks, be it the non-airconditioned two-axle Volvo Olympians or the first airconditioned double deckers in Singapore in the shape of Leyland Olympians or better known as the “SuperBus” to many.

Of course, SBS Transit was still known as Singapore Bus Services then, and TIBS operated its yellow and orange buses on service 854, with subsidiary Singapore Shuttle Bus running its orange Nissans and Hispano-bodied DAFs on the 608.

A Volvo B10M Mk 3 with Duple Metsec bodywork running service 225 (white plate). Behind it is the old Princess theatre which has just recently ceased operations, and very likely to be demolished.

A Volvo B10M Mk 3 with Duple Metsec bodywork running service 225 (white plate). Behind it is the old Princess theatre which has just recently ceased operations, and is very likely to be demolished.

Fast forward to today and the changes can never be more stark.

Singapore’s last non-airconditioned single deck public buses – the N113CRBs – have been scrapped. Taking their place are the new Scania K230UBs. Not only are they airconditioned, they are the first wheelchair-accessible single deck public buses in Singapore. And there are now 900 of them roaming the entire island. Needless to say, all the feeder bus services in Bedok have been converted into fully airconditioned services. Impressively, routes 222 and 225 even gained double decks!

Gone too are the non-airconditioned double-decks; not only have they been replaced by airconditioned counterparts, some services like the 7 and 14 even received the country’s first wheelchair-accessible double-decks in the form of Volvo B9TLs fitted with our very own ComfortDelGro Engineering bodywork. And they are rather stylish to boot.

Above all else, the dull red stripes of SBS have given way to a much more inspiring and colourful livery consisting of the purple and orange shaping the new multi-modal SBS Transit. The same cannot be said for SMRT Buses though. The bright and sunny yellow and orange have sadly succumbed to the dull corporate lines of the train company that bought it over (whether or not the takeover was appropriate is still under debate till today!).

Volvo Olympian double deck buses have been deployed on both services 225 (green plate) and 225 (white plate).

Volvo Olympian double deck buses have been deployed on both services 225 (green plate) and 225 (white plate), both of which used to be run with a full fleet of single decks.

TIBS has evolved into SMRT Buses, and it has made its increasing presence in the east felt, after gaining route 67 and the chartered free shuttle service to the IKEA home furnishings store in Tampines. It no longer utilises the parallel end-on parking berths in the interchange but instead, takes up one of the sawtooth berths to accomodate the long bendy buses. CSS 608 has long been withdrawn following the company’s policy of divesting itself off unprofitable routes – resulting in the demise of the Singapore Shuttle Bus company at the same time.

Gone too are some routes like the 34, 219 (renumbered to current 229), 226 (merged with 385 to form 60), 227 (merged with 17) as well as the old 229 and 221 which merged to become Bedok’s only Townlink feeder bus route 222. Others which survived relatively untouched till today saw changes in terms of frequency and deployment of buses. My former feeder bus service – the 225 – for instance, no longer see Scania N113CRBs but in their place are Volvo B10Ms and even Volvo Olympian double decks!

However, Bedok did not only see redundancies being cut. Additions and alterations also took place every now and then. The bus interchange itself was minimally spruced up to increase the level of comfort for commuters utilising what is arguably the oldest bus interchage in Singapore still standing strong. More passing through bus routes such as the 45 and 59 surfaced, even while others like Express 506 got extended to Upper East Coast.

Bedok (together with Tampines) also witnessed the introduction of SBS’ first bus service to serve Woodlands town proper and terminate at Woodlands Regional Bus Interchange. This was the 168 and it helped shorten travel time between the north and east drastically by taking advantage of the northern express route (SLE and TPE).

Former services 221 and 219 were merged to become TownLink service 222, which has progressed to gain some Volgren-bodied Volvo B10TL Super Olympians, seen here parked at Bedok Interchange wearing a full-body advertisement by NEA on dengue fever prevention measures.

Former services 221 and 219 were merged to become TownLink service 222, which has progressed to gain some Volgren-bodied Volvo B10TL Super Olympians; one of which is seen here parked at Bedok Interchange wearing a full-body advertisement by NEA on dengue fever prevention measures.

With the LTA taking over the role as master planner and plans for one of those integrated airconditioned developments planned for Bedok, I am definitely ready to marvel at the changes coming the way of this old HDB town in the coming decade. Hopefully, some landmarks will be retained not only for the sake of nostalgia, but for the very laid-back character of Bedok. After all, would you really want to see the same old boring shopping centre and condominium development at every train station?

Random Shots: TIB959S on SMRT route 961 January 27, 2009

Posted by hafizbam in Deployment Updates, Random Shots.
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Volgren-bodied Mercedes Benz 0405 TIB959S on route 961 leaving Woodlands Regional Interchange.

Volgren-bodied Mercedes Benz 0405 TIB959S on route 961 leaving Woodlands Regional Interchange together with a SMRT train.

Starting yet another journey from Woodlands Regional Interchange to Geylang Lorong 1 Terminal (essentially Kallang MRT station) is TIB959S running SMRT route 961. The bus, a Volgren-bodied Mercedes Benz 0405, has only been recently transferred from Ang Mo Kio Depot where it was deployed on service 969, to Woodlands Depot currently running as a spare.

This bus is one of many other 12-metre buses from Kranji and Ang Mo Kio depots which have migrated north to Woodlands Depot (WLDEP) following the gradual introduction of the new Mercedes Benz OC500LEs, as well as to replace the void left behind by the older Nissan U31RCN and Scania L113CRL ELBO buses based in WLDEP scheduled for lay-up.

More photos of this particular model can be found here.