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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…

New Premium bus services by private operators March 8, 2009

Posted by hafizbam in Premium Bus, Something New.
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I have included links to two relatively new Premium bus routes operated by two private bus operators.

The first is the 568 from Serangoon North to Shenton Way by Plus 1 Your Preferred Transportation, while the second is the 582 from Bukit Batok West and Jurong East to Shenton Way and Orchard Road by Ric Tat Transportation Service. Quite a lenghty one this premium route.

China’s Yutong citybus for SMRT Buses? February 1, 2009

Posted by hafizbam in Bus, SMRT, Something New.
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China's Yutong citybus in SMRT livery.

China's Yutong citybus in SMRT livery.

Eyebrows were raised when it was reported initially in bus92.com and then SGForums Buses, that one made-in-China Yutong citybus in SMRT Buses livery was spotted lying idle in its factory complete with ez-link card readers and an interior resembling that of the current Scania K230UBs of SBS Transit.

If this source is indeed accurate, SMRT Buses would be the first in Singapore to operate a China citybus on scheduled revenue bus service.

A perfect product from SMRT: the new Mercedes Benz OC500LE November 16, 2008

Posted by hafizbam in Deployment Updates, Something New.
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The first in its batch - SMB1H on route 190 at Clarke Quay

The first in its batch - SMB1H on route 190 at Clarke Quay

It is rare for me to applaud efforts by SMRT (or the lack of it) in improving their transport services. But their latest initiative in bringing in new wheelchair-accessible public buses in the form of 66 Mercedes Benz OC500LEs fitted with a modified Gemilang bodywork (with a Citaro front) has definitely scored them a lot of points, even if the number of such new buses they are bringing in pales when compared to SBS Transit’s massive fleet replacement drive.

An obvious change for these new city buses lies in their registration plate numbers. The new “SMB” officially recognises these buses as the first to be bought by SMRT, ending the former TIB series at TIB1257C. The electronic displays have also changed to orange in colour, with the service number displayed on the right. I’ve always felt this should have been the way since TIBS days as it is easier for commuters looking out for their buses.

Like SBST’s new Scania K230UBs, there are two wheelchair spaces available between the entrance and exit doors, which doubles up as useful extra standing space most of the time. There are however, less tedious steps for passengers to climb to get to the seats behind the exit door, and surprisingly, SMRT managed to pack in more seats (though not necessarily less spacious), with a handful out of the 35 Vogelsitzes bearing black covers instead of the majority red which is a clever way of making the bus reflect the company’s corporate colours and at the same time, adds class to an already grand-looking interior bearing white panels. Even the pairs of seats above the rear wheels did not have the irritating hump found in other buses, including the K230UBs.

Aircon outlets resemble that of the Mercedes Benz 0405G Habit designer bendies which are not really helpful for passengers sitting next to the aisle. An interesting feature for the OC500LEs is the automatic playing of announcements such as “Doors Closing”, “Please move in” and the like. While the MRT-like door closing chime may be a bit irritating, the other announcements come in handy at times. After all, if it ain’t helpful, SBST surely would not want it in their own buses (rumour has it their new batches of buses will feature such announcements as well).

While I am no expert in the technicalities of the bus, overall the bus gives passengers comfortable rides that are not as jerky as the K230UBs. Riding on one on say, service 190 along the expressways feels like floating down the road with no noisy engine sounds to annoy you. Its Euro-V compliant engines make these buses the “greenest” public buses to grace Singapore’s roads today.

So far, there are only slightly more than thirty units of such buses shared between Kranji and Ang Mo Kio Depots, deployed on routes like 190, 811 and 851, though most of them are still running around on other routes as spare buses. Woodlands Depot has yet to receive its share of these new buses as yet.

In conclusion, these new Mercedes Benz buses by SMRT really scores a lot of points in many aspects of a public bus and more of such should be brought in not only to replace the older buses like the Nissan UDs but expand the fleet in the coming years ahead.