LTA evaluates 3-door MAN Lion’s City DD Concept Bus

Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) is currently evaluating a 3-door, 2-staircase MAN Lion’s City DD L Concept Bus. Bearing the registration plate SG5999Z, the double-deck bus is currently undergoing revenue service trials on Bus Service 143, operated by Tower Transit Singapore.

The 12.8-metre long concept bus is built on a MAN A95 chassis and packed with new features such as seats with headrests, USB charging ports, stylish interior lighting and a Passenger Information Display System, that gives real-time information on the next bus-stop along its route, integrated with bus stop announcements. The LTA intends to trial the bus for six months, until 30 September 2017.

First exhibited at the Our Bus Journey Carnival at Ngee Ann City in March 2016, the bus made its revenue service debut on Monday, 13 March 2017, and is one of two concept buses commissioned by LTA to provide the public with a glimpse of how buses would look like in the future, the other being an Alexander Dennis Enviro500 (2015 Facelift) which will not be entering revenue service trials. 

See also: MAN Lion’s City DD L Mock-up Bus for the bus as it was showcased in March 2016.


Launch & Overview

The MAN Lion’s City DD L Concept Bus was launched in the morning of 13 March 2017 at a press event in Bulim Bus Depot, marking the start of a six-month trial by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to evaluate the suitability of such a bus design for Singapore’s use. Bus Service 143 was chosen as it is a long trunk route with a consistent load of commuters.

The bus was first showcased at LTA’s Our Bus Journey Carnival in March-April 2016, and subsequently underwent for modification works prior to revenue service trials. The main design feature of the bus is its two staircases – one going up and the other coming down – giving commuters a dedicated exit route from the upper deck and out directly through the third door.

At the press event, SG5999Z was concurrently exhibited with a 3-door single-deck bus (later bearing the registration SG4002G), a low-entry MAN Lion’s City with steps leading to a third door at the rear, which will begin trials with SMRT Buses in the second quarter of 2017. Both concept buses were designed by ST Kinetics and built on MAN bus chassis.

Under a Road Traffic (Authorisation of Use) Notification 2017, SG5999Z is permitted to operate on Bus Services 4178106143 and 189, all of which are operated by Tower Transit. The Authorisation of Use also covers bi-directional Off Service routes between Bulim Bus Depot and Jurong East Temporary Bus InterchangeBukit Batok Bus InterchangeToa Payoh Bus InterchangeShenton Way Bus Terminal and ST Kinetics along Corporation Road. 

In the early morning on Sunday, 26 March 2017, SG5999Z performed a revenue service trip on Bus Service 143M, operating under the duty code 143A06, which interlines to 143M on its first trip of the day. According to the Road Traffic (Authorisation of Use) Notification 2017, SG5999Z is not permitted to operate on 143M.


Construction

Contract PT236 was awarded to Singapore Technologies Kinetics Ltd for S$610,000.00 on 8 Oct 2015, and also to Alexander Dennis (Asia Pacific) Ltd for S$498,500.00, beating Cycle & Carriage, MCV, Yutong and Volvo. The MAN Lion’s City DD L Mock-up Bus was the final product of this undertaking. As Singapore Technologies Kinetics (ST Kinetics) was the local authorised dealer for MAN Truck and Bus in Singapore, accompanied by the close proximity of the bus assembly plant in Johor Bahru, they built their bus on a MAN bus chassis.

The bus is a 12.8-metre long MAN Lion’s City DD L, built on a MAN A95 chassis. Originally 12 metres long, the chassis was manually extended to 12.8 metres, by cutting the chassis before the second axle and adding a chassis extension by welding.

The construction of this bus was done in Gemilang Coachworks, an authorised MAN bus building workshop based in Johor, and subsequently delivered to Singapore as a complete unit. Construction of other Facelifted MAN A95 buses for the Singapore market is detailed in this article.


Exterior

As compared to older MAN A95 buses, the exterior styling of the MAN Lion’s City DD L Concept Bus bears new styling elements, most notably the large grey stripe on both sides of the bus. The larger headlamp design was likely inspired from MAN Trucks. The livery curves on the upper deck and angled livery overlaying the rear windows makes for a more sleek design with minimal structural modifications.

As a result of its long length, a steerable tag axle allows the bus to navigate corners with greater ease. In the above photo, the bus makes a tight left turn into Toa Payoh Bus Interchange, and the last axle can be seen at a slight angle. The feature is not new; older 3-axle Volvo Olympian buses had the feature on their middle axles.

The bus also features three small Mobitec MobiLED Colour Electronic Display Signages (EDS) for the front, side and rear, allowing the bus to display the service number and special displays in colour. The larger displays on the front and side are conventional Mobitec MobiLED displays, which are white LED matrix displays.

While the service number is programmed in white, Tower Transit has programmed several other logos in colour, including a red-white L-plate for the Training Bus scroll, a LTA logo in blue, and the Tower Transit logo in green.

The bodywork design would later be used in New MAN Lion’s City Facelift DD Buses, which made their debut in February 2017.


Lower Deck

The lower deck features 19 permanent seats. Upon entering the bus, large green arrows on the floor encourage the flow of commuters, either towards the back of the bus or towards the upper deck.

The entrance doors are conventional inward-swinging leaf doors, replacing the original outward-swinging plug door as displayed during the Our Bus Journey Carnival in March-April 2016. Supplied by Masats of Spain, they are powered by electric motors for quieter operation, unlike the ones fitted on other MAN A22, A24 or A95 buses, which use compressed air.

LED Text Display displays the next bus stop, and shows ‘Bus Stopping’ when the bell is pressed. Conventional bell presses have also been installed, replacing the contact-type bells previously installed.

Opposite the front staircase, there is a seating area with four foldable priority seats, giving commuters the option to stand when the bus is crowded. These seats can be magnetically locked in the stowed position from the driver’s cab, but the feature is not used.

Behind the front staircase and opposite the exit doors are the wheelchair bay and standing area.

The wheelchair bay accommodates one passenger-in-wheelchair (PIW), and the backrest doubles up as a single foldable seat when not in use. Another two foldable priority seats are located there as well, similar in design to the first four priority seats (and also able to be locked in the stowed position). When displayed at the Our Bus Journey Carnival, a luggage rack was built above the two priority seats.

A low-height viewing window made of tinted glass allows PIWs and children a view of the outside. A Passenger Information Display System (PIDS) screen is also fitted at the standing area, providing en-route information to commuters.

Towards the rear of the bus are 19 permanent seats with headrests. USB Charging Ports are offered on all seats, except the middle seat at the very back of the bus. All seats beside the aisle are equipped with foldable arm rests.

The seating layout at the rear is similar to other MAN A95 buses operating in Singapore, save for the space needed to accommodate the second staircase. A Passenger Information Display System (PIDS) formerly mounted behind the rear staircase was removed to make it easier for commuters to get in and out of the two seats. 


Front Staircase

The front staircase is intended for unidirectional passenger flow from the lower to the upper deck of the bus. A seat counter displays the number of available seats on the upper deck. The small viewing window is a typical feature of the MAN Lion’s City DD bodywork.

The staircase is designed with two flat staircase landings (“straight staircase”), a feature common in newer buses by eliminating cornered steps.


Upper Deck

The upper deck of the bus is laid out in a conventional four-abreast seating, with two rear-facing seats behind the front staircase where there was not enough space for front-facing seats. There are two Passenger Information Display System (PIDS) screens on the upper deck: one at the front, and the other in the midsection, near the rear staircase. Similar to SMRT specifications, an additional LED Text Display displays the next bus stop and shows ‘Bus Stopping’ when the bell is pressed.

Directional arrows on the floor indicate encourage commuters to move to the rear, where the second staircase is located. 

In addition to grab poles at regular intervals, all seats are fitted with hand grips for the benefit of commuters walking down the aisle. Towards the rear of the bus, seating space has been sacrificed for a second staircase on the kerbside, which leads directly to a third door on the lower deck. 

USB Charging Ports are offered on all seats, except the middle seat at the very back of the bus. The headrests on three seats on the last row have been removed, likely to avoid obstructing the rear window, which doubles as an emergency exit.


Rear Staircase

The rear staircase is intended for unidirectional passenger flow from the upper to the lower deck of the bus. It leads directly to a third door on the lower deck for commuters exiting the bus. Alternatively, a set of spring barriers allows commuters to return back to the lower deck cabin.

A distinguishing additional feature installed prior to revenue service trials is the retractable barrier on the upper deck, which prevents commuters from accessing the rear staircase while the bus is in motion. This is a safety feature; should the bus brake sharply, commuters might easily lose their grip and fall forwards, resulting in injury.

The barrier is electrically wired with the third door and extends/retracts when the third door is operated from the driver’s cab. The original design featured an exposed gap which could trap commuters’ fingers; by end-March, the barrier was modified with a metal covering to eliminate the exposed gap.

At launch, the exposed barrier design was a flaw which could trap commuters’ fingers when retracting, and care should be exercised not to place one’s fingers there.

Original barrier (More pictures)
Original design with exposed mechanism

On the lower deck, a set of spring barriers allow commuters to return to the lower deck cabin, but prevents commuters on the lower deck from using the third door. 

Additionally, a series of infrared beam sensors cover the length of the rear staircase. As a safety feature, the third door and upper deck barrier cannot be closed if a passenger is still inside the stairwell.


Exit doors

The second and third doors of the bus are sliding plug doors supplied by Masats, which extend outwards before sliding out sideways. The larger second door for passengers on the lower deck is also fitted with a manual wheelchair ramp for PIWs, while the third door is used only for passengers exiting from the upper deck. 

Both doors are independently controlled from the driver’s cab. 


Driver’s Cab

Built on a MAN A95 chassis, the driver’s cab is very similar to that of other MAN buses, including the positioning of equipment such as the New On-board Bus Equipment (NOBE), Common Fleet Management System (CFMS), coinbox and CCTV monitors. 

A driver fatigue and distraction detection system, first showcased at the Our Bus Journey Carnival, has been retained on the bus. The driver’s seat will vibrate if the system detects that the bus driver is sleepy. 

 

The Mobileye Shield+ Collision Avoidance System was also installed to encourage safer driving and is the first bus outside of SBS Transit’s fleet to feature the technology. The system comprises a windshield-mounted Vision Sensor Unit (containing a camera and an image processor) connected to a dashboard-mounted Display Unit for visual directional warnings and numerical headway measurement display.

With a steerable tag axle allowing the bus to navigate corners with greater ease, two externally mounted cameras at the rear of the bus help to cover the driver’s blind spots. The system had previously been tested onboard SBS6650K, an SBS Transit Mercedes-Benz Citaro. Two more Display Units located near the rear view mirrors alert drivers to objects in their blind spot with visual and audio cues.

For more information on the Mobileye technology, visit the dedicated article here: Mobileye collision alert system.


Additional Features

Passenger Information Display System (PIDS)

The Passenger Information Display System (PIDS) gives real-time information on the next bus-stop along its route, integrated with bus stop announcements. However, at launch (13 March 2017), the system was yet to be fully operational. The system was operational as of 31 March 2017, albeit slightly glitchy, and is expected to be finetuned in the near future.


Stickers

Floor stickers assist in guiding commuters around the bus. Additional stickers scattered throughout the bus interior inform commuters about various aspects of the bus design, including information tidbits and special features.

Many of the signs are captioned in Singlish to attract attention but are accompanied with descriptions in Queen’s English. The use of Singlish was a minor talking point among Singaporeans, with some praising the lighter side of it, while others criticising the use of Singlish in such a setting.


Gallery

Gallery (Old Photos):


360-degree Interior Video


See Also:
External Links & References:

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