Route limitations, sometimes called fleet restrictions, usually refer to bus services that have regulations on fleet deployments, such as vehicle length, vehicle height, or various environmental factors. Bus companies may also set their restrictions on the buses they deploy on certain routes. Bus routes in Singapore are subject to physical limitations of road infrastructure. Some roads have various design limitations that would be difficult or impossible for larger buses to pass through. Hence, for safety reasons, fleet restrictions are put in place to forbid certain models of buses from being deployed on routes with limitations.
The so-called ‘ban’ on various types of buses on some routes has been a topic of discussion among bus enthusiasts. Fleet restrictions are part of the internal affairs of bus companies and are not publicly disclosed. As such, it is difficult to know for sure whether a ‘ban’ exists. For example, areas like Depot Road and Resorts World Sentosa do not see the use of double-deck buses and articulated buses respectively. It is hard to know for sure whether the ‘ban’ will be lifted, as the exclusive deployment of single-deck rigid buses to various bus services plying these areas may be due to other causes (like lack of strong demand). As such, most fleet restrictions are ‘guessed’ based on the operating trends of various services. And occasionally, fleet restrictions are ‘broken’, one recent example being the introduction of double decks to Service 90 and 94 which ply Airport Road and have been only using single-deck buses before. Slightly before that, double-deck buses made their first appearance on Service 95, and subsequently Service 151 and 96, all of which serve Kent Ridge Crescent within NUS, known for its narrow roads and steep inclines.
For feeder bus routes, most routes use single-deck buses exclusively due to convenience; double-deck buses are slower at loading and unloading large numbers of passengers quickly. It is difficult to determine of fleet restrictions exist regarding the ‘ban’ of double-decker buses and hence, feeder services are not included in the above table.
In addition to physical limitations, other restrictions like the wheelchair-accessible bus quota for wheelchair-accessible bus routes (WAB) which state that a WAB route must have a fleet of at least 50% wheelchair-accessible buses, so wheelchair-bound passengers can get a WAB within the waiting time of two buses. Another unique fleet restriction is the cross-border fleet restriction, which demands that all buses serving on cross-border routes have to be registered with the Malaysian authorities (more specifically, Malaysia’s Land Public Transport Commission or SPAD). These buses are refitted with a rear third brake light and carry additional documents/labels in order to meet Malaysian traffic regulations (3rd brake light is not compulsory in Singapore). These JB-registered buses can serve on any bus route, but only JB-registered buses can deployed on cross-border routes.
Updates: Tree pruning works along Bukit Timah Road in Dec 2014 / Jan 2015 have allowed for double-deck buses on Services 48, 66, 67 and 960. Tree pruning works along Henderson Road in late 2014 have allowed for double-deck buses on Services 145 & 176.
SMRT Ang Mo Kio Depot was reconfigured to accommodate double-deck buses since August 2015.
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