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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 buses for routes 100 & 174 November 5, 2007

Posted by hafizbam in Deployment Updates, Something New.
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The latest wave of changes to hit the local bus scene is the introduction of new Scania K230UB buses by SBS Transit which formally commenced revenue service on 1 November. These single-deck air-conditioned buses are the first Euro-4 engined wheelchair accessible public buses in Singapore, as well as the first to have two dedicated wheelchair slots.

For now, ten of such buses are on the roads, with three on route 174 (Boon Lay to New Bridge Road) and the rest on the 100 (Serangoon to Ghim Moh).

The choice of bodywork, by Gemilang Coachworks of Malaysia looks more like an effort to reduce production costs as much as possible, rather than favouring stylish designs more commonly found in other cities like London. Personally, I find the bodywork a bit on the ugly side, thanks to the wider base and coach-like rear. Reports from fellow enthusiasts have also condemned the lack of proper space utilisation in the front part of the interior, not to mention having to climb five (yes, FIVE) steps to get to the last row of seats (but that can’t be helped due to the engine). That is definitely something new for Singapore public buses.

And in an apparent departure from their traditional plastic number plates, SBS Transit decided to go ahead with LED electronic displays (already standardised in its competitor SMRT Buses’ fleet for years) but the choice of opting for cheap ones from China doesn’t seem appealing. Not that I have anything against China products but perhaps SBS Transit should do something to the ultra-small numbers which is definitely not clearly visible for a young guy like me, what more the elderly.

Notwithstanding the above, these new Scanias have been lauded for its smooth brakes and relatively quick acceleration even with bursting loads on both routes, which is definitely good news for the increasing number of standing passengers now that the buses have only 29 seats.

The Scanias will become more prominent soon as 500 of them are due to be released by 2008.

Photo acknowledgement: SBS8888D by Muhd Faizal; SBS8036X by Jack Awyong.

Scanias come to 962 November 3, 2007

Posted by hafizbam in Deployment Updates.
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I have always wanted 12-metre buses on my home route but never had I wanted them to be the sluggish Walter Alexander-bodied Scania L113 buses. Not only so, most (or rather all) of them have very noisy engine sounds which even the most enthusiastic engine sound recorder would despise. To top it off, the interiors are dark and gloomy, with most of them barely receiving a passing grade.

And worse, quite a handful are spare units which means even less frequent maintenance checks.

Now back to the 962, an intertown route between Woodlands and Sembawang launched on June 24, 2001. Coincidentally the second route to penetrate the new and growing Sembawang Town then, in addition to the 859. From its humble beginnings with six? rigids to what I considered its peak during the TIBS period with a full articulated bus fleet. Complete with two Volgren-bodied Mercedes Benz 0405Gs. And now back to a fleet of mixed 12-metres and Bendies.

I dont mind 12-metres on the 962. In fact, the main demand for the Bendies came from the school kids travelling between the two towns, of which Riverside Secondary should be given special mention for bringing in the crowds and subsequently Bendies. But apparently Woodlands Depot which controls 962 is now having a lot, and I mean really alot, of spare Scanias to play around with, thanks to themselves being replaced by the older Nissan UDs on routes 178 and 187 (I’ll talk about them later).

There can be up to three full-day Scanias on the 962, none of which are doing the split shifts still controlled by TIB977P and TIB1165J although this needs checking. One Volgren 0405G (TIB1188T) has already been displaced by the Scanias and has since settled on the struggling 911. The other Bendies have been rotating among the drivers in an apparent bid by SMRT to somehow “equalise” their pay following the redeployment. An interesting feature though, is that the Scanias deployed on the 962 don’t seem to be permanant – there is bound to be a different Scania deployed everyday – although some of them like TIB657M (as shown in the picture above) and TIB639R keep appearing more often than the others.