|Years in operation||2008 – Present|
|Transmission||ZF 6HP 592C|
|Accessibility||Low Entry & Wheelchair-accessible|
|Emission Standard||Euro V (SCR)|
The Mercedes-Benz OC500LE is a low-entry, rear-engined single-deck transit bus built by Mercedes-Benz since the mid-2000s. As the successor of the Mercedes-Benz O405NH chassis, it was sold to operators around the world, particularly in Australia, Singapore and the UK.
Currently, SMRT Buses is the sole public transport operator with Mercedes-Benz OC500LEs in its fleet, with 134 units introduced between 2008 and 2009. SBS Transit also received a demonstrator unit for trial purposes before it was sold to a private operator.
The Mercedes-Benz OC500LE was the successor to the O405NH, a low-entry version of the highly successful O405 chassis. Co-designed with the Mercedes-Benz Citaro, it shares much in common with the Citaro chassis used for the Mercedes-Benz Citaro integral bus range.
Oc500LEs come with the standard Mercedes-Benz OM 457 hLA inline 6-cylinder, 11.967-litre turbocharged and inter-cooled engine, with a power output of 299 horsepower. A 252-horsepower version was discontinued after its Euro 3 rating fell short of modern emission standards. The newer engine relies on Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology to achieve its Euro IV / Euro V rating, requiring the use of diesel exhaust fluids such as AdBlue. A CNG-powered engine option is also available with the Euro IV / V rating.
Currently, Mercedes-Benz only offers a ZF EcoLife 6-speed automatic transmission with integrated hydraulic retarder (model 6 AP 1200 B for the 252 hp CNG engine or model 6 AP 1400 B for the 299hp diesel engine). Previously available options were the Voith D864.3E 4-speed automatic transmission, as well as the ZF Ecomat 5 HP 502/592 5-speed and 6 HP 502/592 6-speed automatic transmissions.
Initial demonstration by TransPerth and evaluation
Mercedes-Benz OC500LEs made their first appearance in Singapore on 8 May 2004, when a TransPerth OC500LE (TP1854) was brought into Singapore for an one-day evaluation in the Orchard shopping district.
The bus was a Euro IV CNG model, bodied by Volgren (CR228L) and registered as CNG1854 under a Special Purpose License. Members of the public were invited to sightseeing trips around Orchard while SBS Transit and SMRT conducted evaluations for the bus. The bus later returned to Perth to continue revenue service.
Following the evaluation run, SMRT Buses would make a purchase of its first batch of OC500LEs a few years later, in 2008. The bus was destroyed by fire in December 2009.
SMRT Mercedes-Benz OC500LE :
Four years after the initial trial run in Singapore, SMRT Buses placed orders for an initial 134 Mercedes-Benz OC500LEs for fleet replacement and expansion. These buses would be the company’s first batch of new buses since their re-branding from Trans-Island Bus Services. Buses arrived in two batches, and were registered between 19 Jun 2008 and 1 Oct 2009 as SMB1H – SMB134H, the first batch of buses to use the SMB prefix for registration numbers.
|Basic Technical Specifications|
|Engine||Mercedes-Benz OM 457 hLA, 11967cc
Power rating of 299 hp (220 kW) @ 2200 rpm
Torque rating of 1250 Nm @ 1100 rpm
|Emission Standard||Euro V compliant
Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology requiring diesel exhaust fluids such as AdBlue.
|Transmission||ZF Ecomat 6HP 592C gearbox, six-speed automatic|
|Bodywork||Gemilang Coachworks Bodywork
Complete Knock-Down (CKD) kits assembled by Thonburi Busbody Limited of Thailand. Bus uses a CapaCity licenced front from Mercedes-Benz.
|EDS||LAWO BENEFIT Electronic Display Signages (EDS), Orange LED matrix design.
Mobitec MobiLED used on SMB91Y
|Seat model||Vogelsitze System 750/3
Vogelsitze System 601 (Wheel arch seat)
The introduction of the Mercedes-Benz OC500LE scored many firsts. These buses were the first buses in Southeast Asia to meet the stringent Euro V emission standards, as well as SMRT’s first wheelchair-accessible buses. For SMRT Buses, it was their very first batch of new buses after the re-branding from Trans-Island Bus Services in 2004. Similar to TIBS, buses were registered in numerical order, and the OC500LE demonstrator, SMB1H, received number 1 in the new SMB registration prefix.
The LED-type LAWO BENEFIT type EDSes were a first, in contrast to the older flip-dot designs in widespread use among SMRT’s existing fleet, and inbuilt voice announcements were a first for public transport buses in Singapore. Doors were supplied by SMC Transit, and roof-mounted air-conditioning supplied by Konvekta (model KL70T).
Demonstrator Unit (SMB1H):
SMB1H was the demonstrator unit for the Mercedes-Benz OC500LE. It made its public appearance on 30 Apr 2008 during the launch of SMRT’s Go Green event, and was later registered as SMB1H. The bus entered revenue service on 29 June 2008, appearing on Service 190. For the first few years of service, it was pasted with a special Go Green with SMRT livery to promote SMRT’s commitment to the environment and the high emission standards of the bus.
The bus received an exterior refurbishment due to unforeseen circumstances. It is now a training bus.
Production Batch 1 (SMB2E – SMB67T):
Following the successful evaluation of the demonstrator unit SMB1H, SMRT Buses placed an initial order for 66 initial production units, also known as the Batch One. Registered as SMB2E – SMB67T, they shared identical technical specifications as SMB1H. The side and rear EDS were also of the LAWO BENEFIT model, but of a larger size for easier viewing of the route number. Interior seats featured black and red seat fabric covers, reflecting SMRT’s corporate colors, while reserved seats used yellow fabric covers. These buses entered service from September 2008 onwards.
Production Batch 2 (SMB68R – SMB134H):
SMRT Buses placed an additional order for 67 more production units of the Mercedes-Benz OC500LE, also known as the Batch Two. Registered as SMB68R – SMB134H, they shared identical technical specifications as the first batch.
The main difference from the Production Batch 1 lies in the interior. The Batch 2 buses used a new color scheme of blue and purple seats, and red for reserved seats. More grab poles and air-conditioning outlets were added to the rear of the bus. A blue-tinted sticker was fixed to the front windscreen to block off excess sunlight glare. These buses entered revenue service from July 2009 onwards.
In a case of theft, SMB51M had its rear EDS stolen somewhere around 2010. The bus was taken out of revenue service and returned a few months later with a rear EDS acquired from SMB76S.
SMB76S was involved in an accident when it lost control and smashed into a tree. It returned to service after a few months with a repaired front and a smaller-sized LAWO EDS at the rear, identical to those used on the Mercedes-Benz Citaros. SMB1H later received the same small-sized rear EDS unit.
SMB91Y was also involved in an accident. It returned to service with a new set of Mobitec MobiLED ED units, currently the only SMRT OC500LE with Mobitec EDS units.
SMB30Z was the first Mercedes-Benz OC500LE to be stickered with SMRT Buses’ new livery, replacing the older red and beige themed livery.
SMB11D – SMB18K received LED displays next to the entrance door. Supplied by Elekon Micro Systems, these were used as part of a trial to indicate the headway (in minutes) and crowd level of the subsequent bus.
SMB110E was the first OC500LE to be repainted into LTA’s Lush Green livery, with more units expected to follow suit in the future.
SBS Transit Mercedes-Benz OC500LE Demonstrator:
In 2009, SBS Transit received a demonstrator unit of the Mercedes-Benz OC500LE for evaluation. It was of identical technical specifications to its SMRT counterparts, but with a smaller EDS unit supplied by Gorba AG.
Originally planned for registration as SBS8032G (after SBS Transit’s demonstrators SBS8030L and SBS8031J), the bus was rejected and returned to Mercedes-Benz’s local dealer, Cycle and Carriage. The Scania K230UB was SBS Transit’s preferred chassis and went on to become SBS Transit’s largest bus intake to date. The bus was later sold to private operator Chitson Transport Service Co., refitted with coach-style seats and registered as PA9588S.
|SMRT Mercedes-Benz OC500LE|
|SMB1H||Mercedes-Benz OM457hLA||ZF Ecomat 6HP592C||2008||–||Gemilang Coachworks|
|SMB2E – SMB67T||2008||–|
|SMB68R – SMB134H||2009||–|
External Links & References:
- Mercedes-Benz OC500LE – Wikipedia
- Mercedes-Benz OC500LE – SGBuses
- Mercedes-Benz OC500LE – SGWiki