Mercedes-Benz O405 (TIBS / SMRT)

Mercedes-Benz O405
SMRT Mercedes-Benz O405
SMRT Mercedes-Benz O405
Manufacturer Mercedes-Benz
Bodywork Hispano Carrocera
Volgren
Years in operation 1994 – 2016
Operators SMRT Buses
Technical Data
Length 12 metre
Engine Mercedes-Benz OM447hA
Transmission ZF 4HP 500
Accessibility High Floor
Emission Standard Euro I

The Mercedes-Benz O405 is a rear-engined single-deck transit bus built by  Mercedes-Benz  from the mid-1980s to the early 2000s. As the successor of the Mercedes-Benz O305 chassis, it was highly successful, with many units operating in Europe, Australia and Singapore.

Both major public bus operators in Singapore, Singapore Bus Services (SBS) and Trans-Island Bus Services (TIBS), acquired a total of over 1000 units between 1990 and 2000 over many different variants of bodywork. 700 units obtained by SBS were of the Mark-I make, while the 323 units obtained by TIBS were of the Mark-II make.

Due to complexity of information, this article will only cover Mercedes-Benz O405s in TIBS and SMRT’s fleet only.

Technical Information:

The Mercedes-Benz O405 was the successor to the Mercedes-Benz O305, which ceased production in 1987. It was sold to many bus operators in Europe, Australia and Singapore. The O405 was produced in two generations, designated as O405 MkI and O405 MkII.

The O405 MkI (mid-1980s to early-1990s) featured a naturally aspirated Mercedes-Benz OM447h engine with either a 210-horsepower or 250-horsepower output, coupled with a Mercedes-Benz W3E110/2.2R or W3E112/2.2R gearbox. A compressed natural gas (CNG) 205-horsepower Mercedes-Benz M447hG engine was also offered. Gearbox options included other Voith, ZF or Allison gearboxes. All units acquired by SBS were of the Mk I type.

The O405 MkII (early-1990s to early-2000s)  featured a turbocharged 250-horsepower Mercedes-Benz OM447hA engine. Naturally aspirated engines, turbocharged+inter-cooled engines & CNG engine options were available . Gearbox options included other Voith or ZF gearboxes. All units acquired by TIBS were of the Mk II type.

Apart from providing an integral bodywork, the O405 is compatible with many other types of bodywork. An articulated version of this chassis was also produced, the Mercedes-Benz O405G. The low-floor version of the O405 was known as the O405N (or O 405 GN for articulated version). A low-entry variant, the O405NH, was also produced, targeted towards the Australia market.

The Mercedes-Benz O405 and O405N series was superseded by the Citaro, and the O405NH was superseded by the OC500LE.


SMRT Mercedes-Benz O405 [Overview]

A total of 323 units of the Mercedes-Benz O405 was procured by SMRT’s predecessor, Trans-Island Bus Services (TIBS), in two bodywork variants. All but 15 units were bodied by Hispano Carrocera of Spain, which made for an ubiquitous sight around the island. A final 15 units were bodied by Volgren of Australia.

Between the Hispano Carrocera bodied units, two specifications emerged: Original Air-conditioned (OAC) buses with full-sized windows, and Non-air-conditioned (NAC) buses with sliding windows, to give commuters a choice between buses. Eventually, when AC buses were becoming standard, air-conditioning units were installed onto existing NAC buses, earning them the designation Converted Air-conditioned (CAC)

Many Mercedes-Benz O405 buses share similar technical specifications. Here’s a table at a glance:

SMRT Mercedes-Benz O405
  Mercedes-Benz O405 OAC Mercedes-Benz O405 CAC Mercedes-Benz O405 Volgren
Quantity 235 73 15
Registered Jul 1994 – Sep 1997 Nov 1995 – Jan 1996 Dec 1999 – Feb 2000
  Technical Specifications
Engine Mercedes-Benz OM447hA engine, 11967cc turbocharged, Euro I
Power /Torque rating of  250 hp (184 kW) @ 2200 rpm / 900 Nm @ 1000 – 1600 rpm
Transmission ZF Ecomat 4HP 500 (4-speed)
Bodywork Hispano Carrocera Hispano Carrocera Volgren CR221
Capacity Seating: 41
Standing: 44
Total: 85
Seating: 41
Standing: 37
Total: 78
Seating: 39
Standing: 45
Total: 84
Electronic Display Signage LAWO Flip-dot (original)
– Mobitec MobiLED
– LAWO BENEFIT
– Transit Media TwinVision LeDot (TIB596E)
– Cool-Air (TIB597C)
– LAWO ALUMA (TIB612S front)
Hanover Flip-dot (original)
– Mobitec MobiLED
– LAWO BENEFIT
– LAWO ALUMA (TIB783G)
LAWO Flip-dot (original)
– Mobitec MobiLED
– LAWO BENEFIT (TIB958U)
– LAWO ALUMA (TIB959S, TIB961J front)
Air-conditioning Original: Hispacold (underfloor)
Konvekta (TIB488J, roof-mounted pod)
Denso and Hispacold (Roof-mounted pods) Denso Roof-mounted pod
Remarks      

SMRT Mercedes-Benz O405 (Hispano Carrocera) OAC:

In 1993, Trans-Island Bus Services (TIBS) ordered 235 units of the Mercedes-Benz O405s of the Mark-II type, in contrast to the Mark-I type O405s acquired by SBS. They were registered between 7 Jul 1994 and 26 Sep 1997 as TIB425R – TIB561ETIB572Z – TIB634D and TIB798P – TIB832Z. To contrast them from the non-air-conditioned batch, this batch was known as the OAC, or original air-conditioned.

Technical Specifications:
Mercedes-Benz O405 OAC (LAWO Green Flip-dot)
Mercedes-Benz O405 OAC (LAWO Green Flip-dot)
Mercedes-Benz O405 (OAC)
Engine Mercedes-Benz OM447hA
Transmission ZF Ecomat 4HP 500
(4-speed)
Capacity 85 Passengers
EDS LAWO Flip-dot (original), later refitted
Additional Specifications:

TIB425R and TIB426M are demonstrator buses. TIB426M was intended to be a non-air-conditioned demonstrator unit but was eventually delivered with air-conditioning. It is the only SMRT O405 to have rounded-edge windows at the rear.

The large number of orders reflects the success of the model, and was the flagship bus model of the TIBS fleet during the 1990s, operating on virtually every bus service. From 2004, some buses were registered with the Malaysian Transport Authorities (SPAD) to serve on cross-border Service 950. The gaps in the registration numbers reflect how TIBS chooses to register its buses in ascending numerical order.

Additional Specifications:

The Mercedes-Benz O405, although sharing the same technical specifications, received many different upgrades in the form of interior installations and Electronic Display Signage (EDS) upgrades across the fleet. It has a licensed capacity for 85 passengers, comprising 41 seated and 44 standing passengers.

This bus originally came with green PVC seat covers, reflecting the interior color scheme of choice for TIBS. During subsequent refurbishments, some were fitted with purple and red PVC seat covers. Later refurbishments would fit buses with red, purple and blue plastic seat covers, the interior colour scheme of choice for SMRT Buses. TIB612S was fitted with an additional two back-facing foldable seats at the nearside standing area.

SMRT Mercedes-Benz O405 (TIB612S) - Service 961, with LAWO ALUMA EDS
SMRT Mercedes-Benz O405 (TIB612S) – Service 961, with LAWO ALUMA EDS

Aside from the original LAWO green flip-dot EDS, many existing buses received LED matrix EDS units, such as the LAWO BENEFIT and the Mobitec MobiLED. TIB596E uses a Transit Media EDS, TIB597C uses a CoolAir EDS, whereas TIB612S has a LAWO ALUMA EDS unit only for the front.

The Mercedes-Benz O405s were delivered with underfloor Hispacold air-conditioning unit. TIB488J received a Konvekta roof-mounted air-conditioning unit mounted to the roof, the only Mercedes-Benz O405 OAC to have such a feature. CAC buses all have external air-conditioning pods.

By 2013 all Mercedes-Benz O405 OAC buses underwent mid-life refurbishment, entitling them to a lifespan extension of 2 years. New Ez-link card readers were also installed on all buses.


SMRT Mercedes-Benz O405 (Hispano Carrocera) CAC:

In 1995, Trans-Island Bus Services (TIBS) placed an additional order of 73 Mercedes-Benz O405s of the Mark-II type, but they were to be non-air-conditioned. They were registered between 22 Nov 1995 and 29 Jan 1996 as TIB725A – TIB797S. To contrast them from the non-air-conditioned batch, this batch was known as the CAC, or converted air-conditioned, when air-conditioning was later installed on all buses.

Technical Specifications:
Mercedes-Benz O405 CAC (LAWO Green Flip-dot)
Mercedes-Benz O405 CAC (LAWO Green Flip-dot)
Mercedes-Benz O405 (CAC)
Engine Mercedes-Benz OM447hA
Transmission ZF Ecomat 4HP 500
(4-speed)
Capacity 78 Passengers
EDS Hanover Flip-dot (original), later refitted
Additional Specifications:

Originally non-air-conditioned, they were introduced in an era where air-conditioned travel was a comfort and air-conditioned buses charged higher fares. Such non-air-conditioned (NAC) buses provided commuters with a choice between AC and NAC buses. Eventually, when AC buses were becoming standard, air-conditioning units were installed onto existing NAC buses, giving them the converted air-con (CAC) designation.

Air conditioning pods were provided by Denso and were installed onto the roof of existing buses, and most buses had their sliding windows sealed by driving screws into the latching mechanism so they could not be opened by passengers. TIB741C & TIB779U, were instead fitted with Hispacold underfloor air-conditioning similar to those on OAC O405s.

Additional Specifications:

The Mercedes-Benz O405, although sharing the same technical specifications, received many different upgrades in the form of interior installations and Electronic Display Signage (EDS) upgrades across the fleet. It has a licensed capacity for 78 passengers, comprising 41 seated and 37 standing passengers.

This bus originally came with green PVC seat covers, reflecting the interior color scheme of choice for TIBS. During subsequent refurbishments, some were fitted with purple and red PVC seat covers. Later refurbishments would fit buses with red, purple and blue plastic seat covers, the interior colour scheme of choice for SMRT Buses.

SMRT Mercedes-Benz O405 (TIB757H) - Service 171, with LAWO BENEFIT EDS
SMRT Mercedes-Benz O405 (TIB757H) – Service 171, with LAWO BENEFIT EDS

Aside from the original Hanover green flip-dot EDS, many existing buses received LED matrix EDS units, such as the LAWO BENEFIT and the Mobitec MobiLED. TIB783G is unique, having been fitted with a LAWO ALUMA flip-dot EDS.

The Mercedes-Benz O405s were delivered with underfloor Hispacold air-conditioning unit. TIB488J received a Konvekta roof-mounted air-conditioning unit mounted to the roof, the only Mercedes-Benz O405 OAC to have such a feature. CAC buses all have external air-conditioning pods.

By 2013, all Mercedes-Benz O405 CACs buses underwent mid-life refurbishment, entitling them to a lifespan extension of 2 years. The original sliding windows were also replaced with yellow-tinted glass panes. TIB796U is the only O405 CAC retaining the original sliding windows even after refurbishment. New Ez-link card readers were also installed on all buses.


SMRT Mercedes-Benz O405 (Volgren)

In 1999, Trans-Island Bus Services (TIBS) placed orders for a final batch of 15 Mercedes-Benz O405s of the Mark-II type, with a Volgren CR221 bodywork from Volgren of Australia. They were registered between 7 Dec 1999 and 28 Feb 2000 as TIB958U – TIB972C, the last O405s to be introduced into Singapore.

Technical Specifications:
SMRT Mercedes-Benz O405 Volgren (TIB968R) - Service 961
SMRT Mercedes-Benz O405 Volgren (TIB968R) – Service 961
Mercedes-Benz O405 (Volgren)
Engine Mercedes-Benz OM447hA
Transmission ZF Ecomat 4HP 500
(4-speed)
Capacity 84 Passengers
EDS LAWO Flip-dot (original), later refitted
Additional Specifications:

The Volgren bodywork was of the CR221 make, which was very similar to the Hino HS3KRK and Dennis Lance buses which TIBS also ordered with a Volgren CR221 bodywork. Seats were of a thicker green leather cover as compared to other OAC O405s and O405Gs which used fabric seat covers.

In 2011, some buses were registered with the Malaysian Transport Authorities (SPAD) to serve on cross-border Service 950, replacing the older Mercedes-Benz O405 OAC buses. They were subsequently replaced by Mercedes-Benz OC500LEs on Service 950.

SMRT Mercedes-Benz O405 Volgren (TIB962G) - Premium 588
SMRT Mercedes-Benz O405 Volgren (TIB962G) – Premium 588

Additional Specifications:

The bus has a licensed capacity for 84 passengers, comprising of 39 seated and 45 standing passengers.

Aside from the original LAWO green flip-dot EDS, several existing buses received LED matrix EDS units, such as the Mobitec MobiLED and the LAWO BENEFIT (TIB958U only).

Since 2014-2015, Volgren-bodied Mercedes-Benz O405 buses have been gradually removed from revenue service and relegated to training buses. They never returned to revenue service up till their deregistration in 2016.

Mercedes-Benz O405 (SBS/SBST + TIBS/SMRT)
Registration Engine Gearbox Introduced Retired Bodywork
SBS82P – SBS281G Mercedes-Benz OM447h Mercedes-Benz W3E110/2.2R,Voith DIWA D381.4 1989 – 1991 2011 Walter Alexander OAC
SBS282D – SBS581R Duple Metsec OAC
SBS3723D – SBS3922X Mercedes-Benz W3E110/2.2R Duple Metsec NAC/CAC
TIB425R – TIB561E
TIB572Z – TIB634D
Mercedes-Benz OM447hA ZF 4HP 500 1994 – 1995 2015 Hispano Carrocera OAC
TIB725A – TIB797S 1995 – 1996 2015 Hispano Carrocera NAC/CAC
TIB798P – TIB832Z 1995 – 1997 Hispano Carrocera OAC
TIB958U – TIB972C 1999 – 2000 Volgren

Gallery:

Mercedes-Benz O405 (OAC):
Mercedes-Benz O405 (CAC)
Mercedes-Benz O405 (Volgren)

Final Farewell to Hispano-bodied O405s:

TIB832Z was the last Mercedes-Benz O405 (Hispano Carrocera) to be operated by SMRT Buses for months as SMRT retired all its other Hispano-bodied O405s early to make way for new buses. Its last revenue service trips were on 21 Sep 2016 were performed on Service 187. The bus was de-registered on Sunday, 25th September 2016.

SMRT produced a farewell video for TIB832Z, uploaded to their Facebook page and features Senior Bus Captain Tan Boon Thian as he shares his unforgettable driving experience with the Mercedes-Benz O405.


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