2015: A Year In Review

2015 has been an eventful year for the public transport community. We highlight the major events that have shaped this year.

March: Volvo Hybrid Bus Trial

Main article: Volvo B5RLE Hybrid

On Sunday, 01 Mar 2015, SBS8002T made its revenue service debut on Express Service 506, plying between Jurong East and Upper East Coast. AΒ Volvo B5RLE Hybrid bus, it was brought into Singapore as part of a revenue service trial by Volvo Buses.

Built to Australian specifications, the bus would be further deployed on Service 185 and 143 before the end of its trial in August.

SBS8002T at Upper East Coast
Rear view


March: Yishun Temporary Bus Interchange

Main article: Yishun Temporary Bus Interchange

After 28 years of operations at the original site, Yishun Bus Interchange operations were moved to the new Yishun Temporary Bus Interchange which opened on 14 March 2015. The former interchange was demolished to make way for Northpoint City, an integrated transport hub scheduled for completion in 2019.

The Old Yishun Int
Interior of Yishun Temp Int


March: Public Transport Fare Adjustment

Main Article

An overall 2.8% increase in bus and train fares took effect from 5th April 2015, which translated to a 2 – 5 cent increase in adult card fares per journey (10 cents for cash fares). Along with the fare increase came a new Off Peak Monthly Travel Pass, which entitles unlimited rides on basic bus services and the rail network during off peak hours for $85 a month.


March: Lee Kwan Yew

Remembering Mr Lee Kuan Yew
Main Article: State Funeral Bus Diversions

The passing of the nation’s founding father saw extensive emergency arrangements in the public transport scene as the Government fell into their extensive preparations for such an eventuality. During the period of mourning of 25 to 27 March, train operating hours were extended and accompanied by their connecting residential bus services. Nite Owl / NightRider services were extended to 6am and operated at incredibly frequent intervals of 15mins. Island-wide free travel on all buses and trains were also implemented.

Finally, on 29 March 2015, 86 bus services were diverted as the State Funeral Procession traveled from Parliament House to University Cultural Centre in NUS and finally to Mandai Crematorium. Extensive bus diversions were implemented across the island, likely the largest ever implemented in recent history.


April: Journey With Us @ Choa Chu Kang

Main article: Journey With Us @ Choa Chu Kang

Organised to compliment the launch of Feeder Service 301 and Trunk Servce 983, the event on 25 April 2015 was the third Community Engagement and Career Fair organised by SMRT. Exhibition Booths showcased operational capabilities of the company, as well as promoted available job opportunities.

Launch of BSEP routes

The carnival


May: EVA Air Hello Kitty Bus

Main article: EVA Air Hello Kitty Bus

As part of an advertising campaign by Taiwanese carrier EVA Airways, SBS3887P was turned into a concept bus, with its interior adorned with Hello Kitty and Sanrio characters. It was rare to see such an extensively decorated bus interior for an advertising campaign.

Upper Deck – Front to back

Staircase view


June – August: SG50 Celebrations

Related Article: SMRT SG50 Free Shuttle

Local buses were decorated as part of SG50, the celebrations for Singapore’s Golden Jubilee. SBS Transit decorated several single-deck buses with a 3D red dot at the rear, and some had interiors stickered in a polka dotted theme. The “Spot Me Red Dot” campaign by Moove Media decorated many buses with a large red sticker.

SMRT also decorated double-deck buses with SG50 bus advertisements. Many buses were pasted with the “SG50” logo on the sides, along with Golden Jubilee decals on the front and side.

Finally, on 09 August 2015, free rides were offered across all bus and train services, encouraging members of the public to rely on public transport.


November: Joo Koon Bus Interchange

Main article: Joo Koon Bus Interchange

Joo Koon Bus Interchange was opened on 21 Nov 2015 to complement the extension of the East-West Line to Joo Koon, and brings about better transport connectivity to the Jurong West industrial areas around Tuas and Pioneer. In three tranches of bus amendments on 21 Nov, 28 Nov and 12 Dec, bus services were amended to make Joo Koon Int the hub for bus services in the Jurong Industrial Estate.

The interchange

Berth B2


November: Articulated buses for Service 858

Main article: Articulated buses for Service 858

After a long awaited capacity upgrade, SMRT Bus Service 858 has finally received articulated buses on 29th Nov 2015. Arrangements made between SMRT, LTA & Changi Airport Group, combined with initial trial runs in 3Q 2015 paved the way for the authorization of articulated bus deployments on Service 858, specifically the MAN NG363F model only, due to its improved turning radius compared to SMRT’s older Mercedes-Benz O405G articulated buses.

On training rounds

Then on revenue service


December: ASEAN Para Games 2015

Main article: ASEAN Para Games 2015 Shuttle Buses

To ferry athletes and volunteers around, 40 Scania K230UBs were chartered from SBS Transit for the 8th ASEAN Para Games, held from 03 to 09 Dec 2015. These buses were stickered with a special ASEAN Para Games 2015 livery, and 29 of them feature APG-prefixed vehicle registration plates.

Various shuttle bus routes are operated across the duration of the ASEAN Para Games, transporting athletes and event staff between sporting venues and accommodation venues.

Marina Bay Sands

Marina Bay Sands


December: A Bulim Carnival Day

Main article: A Bulim Carnival Day

β€œA Bulim Carnival Day” was an opening ceremony cum depot open house held on 06 Dec2015 at the Bulim Bus Depot. It was organized by Tower Transit, the successful tenderer of the Bulim Bus Package, which will operate 26 bus routes out of the depot starting from May 2016.

he event provided a platform for Tower Transit Singapore to showcase its new depot, while educating the public on what to expect when the GCM kicks in from next year. In addition, static display buses were open to public viewing, and job-seekers could sign up for job opportunities with Tower Transit.

The event ground

Recreation room and canteen


December: Changi Business Park Bus Terminal

Main article: Changi Business Park Bus Terminal

Changi Business Park Bus Terminal opened on 20 Dec 2015, housing 2 new BSEP bus services, 47 and 118. The terminal has end-on parking berths for 12 buses, which can accommodate about 4 bus services. The terminal includes bus operator offices, a ticket office, canteen, driver rest room, nursing room and toilets.

The terminal concourse

Bus Park


Bus Models

2015 saw the full retirement of SBS Transit’s iconic Duple Metsec bodied and Walter Alexander β€œStrider” bodied Volvo B10M Mark IV buses. The first batch of Volvo Olympians, the first batch of Mercedes-Benz O405G, and the first diesel-powered Volvo B10BLE, SBS1688K, have all been fully retired. Mercedes-Benz O405s are almost fully retired, with 1 Hispano unit and 4 Volgren units left in service. DAF SB220 buses are on the road to retirement with only a small handful of units left running on the roads.

2015 also saw the intake of numerous new buses. The Volvo B5RLE Hybrid bus, registered as SBS8002T, was brought in for a 6-month trial, which made appearances on Services 143, 185 and 506. The bus is awaiting LTA’s decision to allow for further trials.

Following trials of SMB388S and SMB5888H, SMRT purchased 39 MAN A24 articulated buses and 15 MAN A95 double-decker buses, which were delivered in 2015. The MAN A95, which was first trialed in Singapore, also made its way into the Hong Kong market with purchases from Kwoon Chung Motors, New World First Bus and other coach operators. In the meantime, new MAN A22, Mercedes-Benz Citaro and Volvo B9TL buses registrations slowing down as deliveries are close to being fulfilled.

For private bus operators, around 12 Volvo B9L low-floor chassis have been bodied by SC Auto for use on NUS Internal Campus Shuttle Services, replacing the older high-floor coaches, Scania K230UBs and Sunlong Midibuses. Numerous Golden Dragon Snow Leopard Coaches have also been brought in for use on City Direct Bus Services and Beeline services operated by Aedge Holdings.

A BYD K9A Electric Bus also passed through Singapore this year, which was parked at Nanyang Technological University for inspection, before being rejected and shipped to Jakarta. Its fate remains unknown.


Bus Services

A total of 10 new bus services were launched under the BSEP in 2015, namely 122, 301, 983, 53M, 102, 258, 47, 117, 118 and 979 in chronological order. Similarly under the BSEP, 386, 103, 972 and 983 were extended to expand their catchment areas.

January saw the final tranche of Peak Period Short Services (PPSS), 265P, 811P, 812P and 903P, being progressively introduced, making a total of 14 such services. These routes enhance the capacity and frequency of feeder bus services.

Between September and October, a further five more City Direct services were introduced: 661, 662, 663, 664 and 665, benefiting commuters travelling to the city with improved connectivity. 850E and 951E were amended to avoid duplication with 663 and 665.


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