On 30th September 2017, SBS Transit formally received articulated buses into its fleet. Three MAN NG363F (A24) buses from SMRT Buses were leased to SBS Transit by the Land Transport Authority as part of the Seletar Bus Package.
Under the Bus Contracting Model, the Land Transport Authority owns and leases buses to the individual public transport operators under term contracts. SBS Transit, who was awarded the Seletar Bus Package contract in April 2017, will operate 25 bus routes from Ang Mo Kio, Yio Chu Kang and Yishun Bus Interchanges from the first half of 2018.
These services include all Yishun Feeder and Intra-town bus routes, which utilize a large fleet of articulated buses. It appears that LTA intends to continue the usage of articulated buses on these services, and has transferred three buses (SMB8003A, SMB8004Y, and SMB8008L) for driver training and familiarization leading up to the eventual takeover of services next year (2018).
Several more MAN A24 buses are expected to be transferred to SBS Transit nearer to the transition date, which has yet to be confirmed as at time of writing.
While SBS Transit was still known as SBS, the company trialed two articulated buses: a Volvo B10MA Mark IV Articulated (SBS998Y) and a Mercedes-Benz O405G Articulated (SBS999U), registered in 1996 and 1997 respectively. Eventually, double-deck buses were favoured and these two articulated buses were taken out of service in 2006. However, for SMRT Buses (formerly TIBS), articulated buses were the preferred high-capacity bus prior to the introduction of double-deck buses in 2014.
Despite the double-deck orders, SMRT Buses brought in 40 MAN NG363F (A24) articulated buses with a demonstrator unit in 2013 (SMB388S) followed by 39 production batch units (SMB8001E – SMB8039Y) in 2015 to replace retiring articulated buses.
In 2014, the Bus Contracting Model was announced. All bus assets would be gradually transferred to, and eventually owned by the Land Transport Authority (LTA). With the Seletar Bus Package, it was decided that the new operator was going to be leased articulated buses and expected to carry on operating them on feeder services in Yishun, which has regular articulated bus deployments on a daily basis. Hence, after SBS Transit won the Seletar contract, it was leased several MAN NG363F buses for driver training and familiarization in the months leading up to the eventual takeover.
These MAN A24 articulated buses bear the SMRT pixel base livery with the SBS Transit logo taking the position of the SMRT logo as a temporary measure. They are expected to be repainted into LTA’s Lush Green livery in the near future.
30 September 2017 transfer
Five MAN NL323F (A22) rigid buses and three MAN NG363F (A24) articulated buses were transferred from SMRT Buses to SBS Transit on this day, representing the first intake of SMRT-spec buses which SBS Transit would be operating as part of the Seletar Bus Package. They are:
- MAN NL323F: SMB3076Y, SMB3079P, SMB3096P, SMB3097L, SMB3122Y
- MAN NG363F: SMB8003A, SMB8004Y, SMB8008L
In exchange for these 8 buses, SMRT received five Mercedes-Benz Citaro buses and three Volvo B9TL buses as a replacement. All of these buses were previously part of LTA’s Excess Bus Storage and were stabled at Bulim Bus Depot.
- Mercedes-Benz Citaro: SG1023R – SG1027E
- Volvo B9TL: SG5513S – SG5515P
Of note is the five Mercedes-Benz Citaro buses which are painted in LTA’s Lush Green livery, making them SMRT Buses’ first Lush Green Citaro buses. Apart from its small batch of purchased Citaro buses, under the Bus Contracting Model, it was leased SBS Transit-spec Citaro buses in a mix of SMRT and SBS Transit colors, making for a very lively fleet. The 3 new Volvo B9TL buses leased to SMRT were only registered on the transfer date (21 Sep 2017).
Earlier in September 2017, SBS Transit received its first MAN A95 double-decker bus (SG5835M) as well, in which it was regularly deployed on Bus Service 76. The bus is expected to be transferred into the Seletar Bus Package fleet on the official transitioning date in 2018.
Several more buses are expected to be leased to SBS Transit as part of the Seletar Bus Package for driver training in the coming months.
Former SBS / SBS Transit Articulated Buses: